Tuesday 20 February 2018

Four years later but still no Cowen portrait

Former Taoiseach Brian Cowen
Former Taoiseach Brian Cowen
The portrait of former Taoiseach Brian Cowen’s predecssor, Bertie Ahern by artist James Hanley that hangs in the Dail
Daniel McConnell

Daniel McConnell

The process of commissioning a State portrait of former Taoiseach Brian Cowen has been mothballed, four years after he has left office.

Ahead of Mr Cowen's scheduled appearances before the Oireachtas Banking Inquiry at Leinster House, where the portraits of other former Taoisigh hang, it has emerged that the Department of An Taoiseach has not yet begun the process.

Normally, such commissions occur either while the leader is still in office or shortly after their departure.

One senior Government source, speaking to the Irish Independent, said it was their understanding that initial soundings had been made as to Mr Cowen's willingness to pose for the portrait, but that the process did not progress any further.

Officially, a spokesman for the Department of An Taoiseach said portraits of former Taoisigh for display in Leinster House are commissioned by the Office of Public Works, at the request of the Department of the Taoiseach.

"A portrait of Brian Cowen has not yet been commissioned," the spokesman said.

"In some cases, portraits have been commissioned while the Taoiseach is in office, or shortly after he left office.

"In other cases the portrait was commissioned a number of years later. In any event, the portrait is not displayed until after the former Taoiseach ceases to be a member of Dáil Eireann," the spokesman added.

Responding to the Irish Independent, an OPW spokeswoman said: "The former Taoiseach has not been contacted by the OPW in relation to the portrait."

Irish Independent

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