Cash is king as Cowen donates to charity and bets on his own man
MONEY was no object to Fianna Fail campaigners in the Donegal South West by-election yesterday.
But whatever about the international and national financial crisis, cash was flowing as the Taoiseach, Tanaiste Mary Coughlan, Senator Brian O'Domhnaill and entourage swept through the Diamond in Donegal Town, donating generously to the Irish Wheelchair Association's Angel Day collectors.
Earlier, a buoyant Mr Cowen placed a generous €50 bet on his man securing the seat in the Fianna Fail stronghold, a more confident wager than Enda Kenny's €10 on Barry O'Neill's chances the previous day.
Mr Cowen revealed that up to 60 Fianna Fail colleagues from around the country would join canvassers from over 100 cumainn in Donegal SW in a weekend campaigning blitz.
He also faced a grilling from the pupils at sixth class in Creevy National School, near Ballyshannon.
One asked whether he had always wanted to be Taoiseach and he replied that he had never been interested in politics.
This was followed by a more pressing "What did you want to be when you grew up?", to which he replied, he had always wanted to win an All-Ireland medal for Offaly.
Not letting it go, another put up his hand and asked the rather direct: "Taoiseach, do you like the job?" to which Mr Cowen replied, "Yes, I am honoured to serve my country but at this moment in time it is very tough, but I am honoured and determined to see it through".
On the streets of Donegal Town, the only dissenting, albeit slurred voice, was from one disgruntled passerby, who told the Taoiseach he was "the greatest b****cks that ever walked". But a laughing Brian Cowen and Tanaiste brushed it off and moved swiftly on.
Fianna Fail wasn't the only show in town.
In fact some would say that they were being closely trailed by Labour's Frank McBrearty.
As Mr Cowen spoke to media, Mr McBrearty's camper van circled the Diamond twice with songs "You'll never Walk Alone" and "Las Vegas in the Hills of Donegal" blasting from a loud haler.
Sinn Fein's Pearse Doherty and his team were also in town, with one member cheekily asking the Taoiseach for his support for their man.
"We have our own candidate, thank you, very much," Mr Cowen smartly replied.