Fine Gael TD Alan Farrell has come under fire from his own party for criticising the family of Fianna Fail's environment spokesman Barry Cowen.
Mr Farrell posted comments on Facebook about Mr Cowen’s brother Brian, a former Taoiseach and his father Ber, who was a Fianna Fail TD. The comments were accompanied by an image of Barry Cowen and Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin mocked up as characters in the 1980s movie ‘Back to the Future’.
Speaking on RTE Radio One Fine Gael chief whip Regina Doherty criticised Mr Farrell for posting personal comments about the Cowen family and said she would talk to him about it. Fianna Fail justice spokesman Jim O’Callaghan also criticised the Fine Gael TD for “making personal attacks at someone’s family”.
Labour Party TD Alan Kelly said the Facebook comments were "down right stupid" and "counterproductive".
On Facebook, Mr Farrell said Ber Cowen was elected when Fianna Fail won a “landslide victory on a populist economic programme” which was “largely based on the abolition of household rates which included payment for water”.
“These policies led directly to the recessionary period our country experienced in the 1980s,” he added.
Mr Farrell said Brian Cowen “continued to pursue populist policies” as Finance Minister and accused him of “stoking the housing bubble which crashed our economy”.
“As Taoiseach, he signed up to water charges in an attempt to help correct his own mess,” he added.
On Barry Cowen, Mr Farrell said: “He has led Fianna Fáil's policy on water and has flip-flopped from one position to another - always for populist political reasons. Again the best interests of our country have been held to ransom and have come second to the best interests of Fianna Fáil.”
On this week’s show: the future of water – water charges are dead and buried but in the fallout of the report, is new politics over? Labour’s Alan Kelly joins INM's Kevin Doyle, Niall O'Connor and Philip Ryan decrying 'populist politics' by Fianna Fail and responds to Barry Cowen's charge that he is 'an angry man'.