Thursday 22 March 2018

FG leader urged to 'smoke out' Cowen

john Drennan

Brian Cowen's outing as a 'smoker in Croker' may have caught the headlines but in an ironic twist Enda Kenny may sustain more political damage over the affair.

In an indication of the ongoing tension within the main opposition party, the Sunday Independent has learned that certain quarters in Fine Gael are not impressed by the absence of any response by Kenny to Cowen's Croker-gate. Dissidents are contrasting Kenny's "disappearance on this issue'' to his forceful response to John Deasy, who was sacked as the party spokesman on Justice after lighting up in the Dail Bar.

Prior to Mr Cowen's Sunday brush with the anti-smoking Taliban, Deasy was the most high profile victim of the controversial smoking ban.

The iconoclastic TD was dismissed from the FG frontbench in dramatic circumstances after he lit up in the Dail Bar shortly after the controversial ban came into force.

At the time, the decision was seen as being harsh, for it subsequently emerged that Deasy had requested on three occasions that a locked door to the outside smoking area be opened and also asked for the Dail superintendent to be brought in to open it.

One TD asked: "Where's Enda on this? We've heard of double standards, but it's astonishing that Enda has zero tolerance for his own and a softer stance for a Fianna Fail Taoiseach. That's a first.''

Meanwhile, it is believed the publicity-shy Taoiseach is even less happy over the outing of his secret life as a smoker. Though Mr Cowen's penchant for a few libations and the odd joint in the UCD student bar was well-known, his relationship with Lady Nicotine was rather more discreet.

However, sources have told the Sunday Independent the Taoiseach is a "social smoker who is known to bum the occasional cigarette'' in the safe environs of the Dail bar.

Unlike other ministers, however, whilst the Taoiseach is a borrower, "he is an occasional carrier who will go into the bar and purchase a packet to repay his donors''.

Mr Cowen's cigarette of choice apparently is the mild Silk Cut -- but though he likes Carrolls and Marlboro, the Taoiseach will smoke "anything he can get".

Sunday Independent

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