Friday 23 February 2018

As emotional Cowen exits, brother takes stage

Eimear Ni Bhraonain

THE Cowens in Clara are not going away. Brian Cowen didn't mention his brother Barry's name once during an interview with his local radio station Midlands 103fm last night when he told his own people he was quitting politics.

But the word was already on the street.

Mr Cowen was composed as he explained that he would not be contesting the general election despite the fact that "everyone in Fianna Fail" wanted him to.

After he came out of the studio, Mr Cowen held it together to answer more questions about his decision. He fought back his emotions but behind his spectacles, tears welled up.

Mr Cowen said he worked "day in, day out and week in, week out" but he has regrets.

"What I am most sorry about is that there are people unemployed in our country but there are people who feel less secure in their homes as a result of this international economic crisis and anything that I would have done that might have brought that about or assisted or contributed to that, of course I regret."

He wishes he had have known then what he knows now.

If he had the benefit of hindsight, he wouldn't have played golf with Sean FitzPatrick. But Mr Cowen insisted they never discussed the bank -- "Well we didn't -- and that's the truth."

Mr Cowen looked weary but he has vowed to push on with the campaign for the sake of the party, which he has represented since he was just 24.

While Mr Cowen was making his decision known on local radio, his brother, Barry, was discussing his future at a meeting in the Tullamore Court Hotel.

He will go head to head with Edenderry Councillor John Foley to get on the party ticket, but already looks like the Cowen man will be the only Offaly name going forward.

John Foley -- made famous on YouTube for his disappearing act on the RTE Six One news -- may soon be doing another vanishing act.

The small businessman will be furious if he is "bumped off" the Fianna Fail ticket to make way for Brian Cowen's brother, to run in the general election.

Fianna Fail strategists have decided to run only two candidates in the Laois-Offaly constituency. This means the party will be getting behind Sean Fleming in Laois -- and since the Mr Cowen is now not going to run in the forthcoming general election -- they will push Barry Cowen in Offaly.

John Foley told Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin that he will run as an independent if he is not given the green light.

Irish Independent

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