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Monday 21 October 2019

Failed FG heave 'knocked wind out of any anti-Cowen coup'

Michael Brennan

THE failed leadership heave against Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny dampened any enthusiasm in Fianna Fail for a coup against Taoiseach Brian Cowen, Junior Minister Conor Lenihan revealed last night.

He said it had shown how difficult it was to remove a sitting leader due to the influence that came with the position.

"If that is the case for a leader in opposition, then it is twice so for a party leader who enjoys the power (and) prestige . . . of a sitting Taoiseach," he said.

Writing in the 'Evening Herald', Mr Lenihan went on to say that Mr Cowen had made good on his promise to communicate to the public the message about the Government's achievements better.

"Cowen has shown decisiveness over the Callely controversy and one can expect more of the same for those prepared to disturb the uneasy peace of disciplined Government in the months ahead before the Dail recess," he wrote in a lengthy opinion article.

But Mr Lenihan told the Irish Independent that his article had not been written at the behest of his brother -- Finance Minister Brian Lenihan -- who has been tipped as a potential leadership contender to Mr Cowen. "I'm not my brother's keeper," he said.

"Clearly these are my own views but they are coming from my own understanding of what many in the party would feel."

Finance Minister Brian Lenihan is currently battling cancer and has effectively ruled out any leadership challenge by saying recently that Mr Cowen had the support of the Fianna Fail parliamentary party and would lead Fianna Fail into the next general election. Mr Lenihan, who is Junior Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, said there was a need for Fianna Fail to be calm as a party.

"We need to avoid a reputation that we generated for ourselves back in the 1980s for feuding and in-fighting.

"I think as a party we did a great disservice to the country by the feuding we engaged in," he said.

Irish Independent

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