Saturday 16 December 2017

Cowen kept quiet as the country fell apart

Louise Hogan

IF it was an ill-advised utterance that later came to encompass the failings of Charles Haughey's leadership, it was the conspicuous lack of communication that came to characterise former Taoiseach Brian Cowen's brief reign.

The speculation that the Co Offaly man (above) might step before the microphone first began to circulate as the economy showed the early signs of its imminent collapse.

It reared its head once more after the 'gargle-gate' uproar over a disastrous early morning interview and then as the folk from the IMF first showed their faces in Dublin.

Yet, he did not move to talk to the populace about what the IMF's arrival might mean for anxious parents, worried homeowners or concerned businesses.


Instead, in November 2010 in a hall in Co Donegal, he took to a stage in front of more than 400 Fianna Fail party faithful where he offered a passionate defence of the government's decisions and the reasons behind them.

Earlier still, intense speculation had mounted in early 2009 that Mr Cowen would make a major leap by delivering an address to the nation as the tough-talking Taoiseach unveiled a package of measures to secure savings of €2bn to stabilise the public finances. The much-anticipated address failed to materialise.

Some months later, he went on 'The Late Late Show', where some awkward moments arose as he was asked about speculation concerning his drinking following 'gargle-gate'.

In April 2010, during a parliamentary meeting, he acknowledged he was aware of his communications shortcomings in a type of a 'state-of-the-nation' address before his fellow party members.

Irish Independent

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