Cowen's brother lands dogs job
Greyhound board insists decision not influenced by politics
TAOISEACH Brian Cowen's brother has been appointed to a new post with the Irish Greyhound Board.
He went for the job after the slowdown in his auctioneering and valuing business following the collapse of the property market.
Barry Cowen, who is a Fianna Fail councillor for the Cowen family's home town of Clara in Co Offaly, is to take up his new job at Mullingar Greyhound Stadium next Monday.
Mr Cowen has been appointed sales, commercial and operations manager in Mullingar and said he was looking forward to the challenge.
Sources at the Irish Greyhound Board (IGB) said the job came with a salary of around €35,000 to €40,000.
"I'm an auctioneer and valuer so obviously I had to consider what other options are out there by virtue of that sector and its performance in the last number of years," Mr Cowen said last night.
"I'm married with four children so I have commitments and responsibilities."
IGB sources emphasised that Mr Cowen's appointment was not influenced by politics and said he applied for the advertised job along with 13 others.
The selection process was whittled down to eight people who were then interviewed, and a further four were given second interviews.
Mr Cowen won the job after giving State-backed IGB bosses a presentation that clinched the post for him.
"I have an extensive knowledge and appreciation of the industry over many years," Mr Cowen, who also used to work in financial services, added.
He said that he has experience as a dog breeder and owner, but added he would still be keeping his auctioneering business.
"I'm not totally out of it, no. I have one more member of staff with me and it can be managed. I have to diversify, no more than everybody else and anybody else."
As a councillor, Mr Cowen received €42,129 in wages, expenses and allowances last year.
IGB bosses say Mr Cowen will help with turning the fortunes of the track around, with profits down from previous peaks of around €200,000 a year.
The track has seen attendances fall since the opening of the new Dublin to Galway motorway, with many punters now opting to go to Shelbourne Park in the capital or Newbridge Greyhound Stadium instead.
IGB said Mr Cowen "has significant business and commercial experience. Furthermore, Mr Cowen has deep industry knowledge and his skills and experience will complement the overall management team."