Thomas Molloy: He was easily bored, afraid of change, and way out of his depth
BRIAN Cowen is a passive man who shies away from innovation and is often bored. The political consequences of these character flaws have been all too obvious in the past few weeks, but the same traits also help to explain why the economy went up in flames during his stewardship over the past seven years.
Cowen, a financial innocent who has never had to earn a salary outside Dail Eireann since the age of 24 and with no obvious interest or experience in economics, was always the wrong choice for Finance Minister back in 2004. But it was his innate dislike of change that really disqualified him for the top job in government.
Where his predecessor Charlie McCreevy had been all hustle and bustle, Cowen was like a weekend sailor happy to sit at the back of ship with a cigarette in his mouth and a drink by his side giving the tiller the odd, slightly bored yank from time to time if he was blown off course. The record shows Cowen's almost four years as Fiance Minister were accompanied by no major innovation.