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'He hopes to walk again' - Brian Cowen still in hospital but making progress after stroke last year

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Brian Cowen and his wife Mary. Photos: PA

Brian Cowen and his wife Mary. Photos: PA

Hospitalised: Brian Cowen

Hospitalised: Brian Cowen

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Brian Cowen and his wife Mary. Photos: PA

FORMER Taoiseach Brian Cowen is still in hospital following a stroke last year, but has turned a corner and is making progress, his family has said.

The former Fianna Fáil leader had not been well for a number of days last summer and was due to undergo an 'everyday procedure' on July 5.

The night before Mr Cowen collapsed and suffered "a very bad stroke and a very bad bleed on the brain," his wife Mary said.

He was taken to St Vincent's Hospital and resuscitated, before being transferred to its intensive care unit the following day, where he remained for five months.

Speaking to Midlands 103, Ms Cowen said her husband had finally turned a corner, is hoping to walk again and is looking forward to returning home in the foreseeable future.

"It was a scary and worrying time for the family," she said.

"It has been a difficult seven months since Brian got sick and it has been hard on the girls and his mother and brother and family in general."

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Budget 2008 is launched by Finance Minister Brian Cowen, with wife Mary and daughters Sinead, 16, and Maedhbh, 9, at a photocall in the Department of Finance

Budget 2008 is launched by Finance Minister Brian Cowen, with wife Mary and daughters Sinead, 16, and Maedhbh, 9, at a photocall in the Department of Finance

Julien Behal/ PA Wire

Budget 2008 is launched by Finance Minister Brian Cowen, with wife Mary and daughters Sinead, 16, and Maedhbh, 9, at a photocall in the Department of Finance

"It has been tough but I suppose we see progress now which is good, it's good for him. We're there to support him and he is coming on. Progress is slow but he is coming on and he's getting there.

"For a lot of it he was very unwell and he probably doesn't remember the early days but he's beginning to see progress himself which is encouraging for him, whereas we've seen progress before him because we were here from day one when he was very seriously ill.

"He still has a long road to go. He's very encouraged by what he's doing at the moment and he's very encouraged. He hopes to walk again and come home soon," she added.

Ms Cowen was speaking after Brian's brother, Barry was elected to the 33rd Dáil in Laois/Offaly over the weekend.

Her and Brian's daughters Sinéad and Meadhbh, who were also at the count centre, ruled out entering the Cowen political dynasty.

He was a TD, minister and Tánaiste between 1984 and May 2008, when he was elected as Taoiseach.

In January 2011 - in the wake of the EU-IMF bailout - Mr Cowen resigned as Fianna Fáil leader but remained as Taoiseach until the Fine Gael-Labour coalition came to power in March of that year.

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Taoiseach Brian Cowen at a cabinet meeting in February 2011

Taoiseach Brian Cowen at a cabinet meeting in February 2011

Taoiseach Brian Cowen at a cabinet meeting in February 2011

His daughter Meadhbh also spoke about some comments made about her father following his illness, describing them as "uncalled for".

She said that she felt she needed to reply and address the comments.

"I think his whole political life, myself, Sinéad and Mam always kept quite quiet, but it was an article about him being unwell (under which derogatory comments were made) and I think it was really uncalled for.

"At the end of the day, he's mam's husband, he's me and Sinéad's Dad, he's a brother, he's an uncle and he is a human being.

"No matter your political belief or your stance on things, he's a person at the end of the day and he went through a really traumatic time, I just think they should think more before they start commenting things that there is families behind these people.

"But yeah, we're just delighted that he's on the way up."

Online Editors