Thursday 19 April 2018

Cowen's hard hat is just a bit old hat

Taoiseach Brian Cowen and stadium director Martin Murphy at the new stadium in Dublin yesterday
Taoiseach Brian Cowen and stadium director Martin Murphy at the new stadium in Dublin yesterday
Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

THAT'S what this country needs -- more photos of the Taoiseach wearing a hard hat.

No matter that Brian Cowen's brand new black wellies hadn't a smear of mud on them, or that he was wearing a pinstripe suit under his hi-viz vest, the hat still spelled dynamic, go-getting and constructive.

Or at least that's what his press people probably told him. Actually, the hard hat is rather old hat at this stage, a predictable staple of the Celtic Tiger era when you couldn't remember what Bertie actually looked like underneath his.

Now a politician in a hard hat only serves as a rather sad reminder of all those empty housing estates, office blocks and zombie hotels -- not to mention the hefty mess of construction rubble taxpayers have been left to sweep up.

There was one cheerful consolation though, that the sight of Mr Cowen all rigged out probably brought the NAMA brigade out in hives.


The Taoiseach was on a bit of a roll, with a 'Good News Story' yesterday for the second day in a row.

With just three weeks left before the Aviva Stadium at Lansdowne Road in Dublin is completed and with the grass busily growing under its special germination blanket, it was time for him to see where it was at.

The plastic wrappers were still on the green plastic seats, there were buckets of cement lying around and there was a smell of fresh asphalt.

It looked very much like a work still in progress -- but everything is bang on schedule, assured stadium director Martin Murphy.

"Will he come across here?" asked one of the cameramen, gesturing to the newly sown pitch ahead of Mr Cowen's arrival.

"No!" came the shocked response from operations assistant Clare Seale. "Nobody's allowed to walk on the pitch." Not even the Taoiseach.

Aviva had sent out 3,000 packets of the same grass seed as those sown at Lansdowne Road as a little gesture to customers, said Ms Seale. "A lot of people wrote back to say they'd planted them on their dad's grave," she said.

As he arrived, gazing up at the elegantly curved swell of the stadium roof, all light and prisms, Mr Cowen must have had one thought: thank God it's not the Bertie Bowl.

"Beautiful," he said aloud.

He did a brief tour and posed for some shots before waxing lyrical on the stadium.

It was a "wonderful facility", he said, praising the design and the "excellent workmanship".

And asked whether he knew where his own seat was, he said he recalled coming to Lansdowne Road for the first time when he had to stand on a board.

"Thankfully, nowadays I've the prospect of a better view," he smiled.

It's about the only perk left of being Taoiseach, so he may as well enjoy it.

Irish Independent

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