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Cowen's diary left blank on golfing day

TAOISEACH Brian Cowen took a day off from his busy working schedule to play golf with former Anglo chairman Sean FitzPatrick.

There are no official appointments of any kind in Mr Cowen's diary for Monday, July 28, 2008 when he went to Druids Glen in Wicklow to play golf with Mr FitzPatrick.

But he was back in Government buildings the following day (a Tuesday) with a photocall announcement of the sports capital programme. And as part of his attempts to secure a new social partnership deal, he met that evening with employers and trade union representatives.

Three of Mr Cowen's engagements for the day were blacked out -- two because they contained personal information and one because it was a Fianna Fail-related event.

The next day (Wednesday), Mr Cowen attended the Galway Races, where he presented the trophy for the Galway Plate and met the Irish jockey team.


Mr Cowen has described his meeting with Mr FitzPatrick as a social event and has insisted that they did not discuss Anglo.

An analysis of Mr Cowen's appointments on other Mondays during the month of July 2008 show that he was almost always engaged on official duties.

He had meetings with President Mary McAleese, Finance Minister Brian Lenihan and French President Nicolas Sarkozy. He also spent a Monday attending constituency events in Offaly.

The only Monday in the month that did not contain any official appointments was the day when he met Mr FitzPatrick.

An analysis of his work diary for the first 14 months of his reign has shown that Mr Cowen was often doing constituency work in Offaly on Mondays.

But he was forced to halt his work as the "Tullamore Taoiseach" due to the increasing pressure on his Fianna Fail party.

Mr Cowen initially attended dozens of constituency events in his native Offaly. The Taoiseach's diary shows that some weeks involved him attending constituency events in Offaly on Mondays, then basing himself in Government Buildings in Dublin from Tuesday to Thursday, and then returning to Offaly for further constituency events on Fridays and throughout the weekend.

But he had to radically change course in 2009 by cutting back on these appearances and spending extra time attending to party matters instead.

Irish Independent