Cowen feels the hand of history
AS Brian Cowen walked through a standing ovation in the packed ballroom, it was clear the weighty hand of history had just brushed against his shoulder for the first time.
He made his way past the rows of cheering Government ministers, senators and TDs, past the banks of TV cameras and huddle of photographers, past the rows of journalists before coming to the front-row seats occupied by his wife Mary and his eldest daughter Sinead.
Finally, he took one small step up onto the platform. But it was a giant leap out from behind the formidable shadow of Bertie Ahern and into the lonely white-hot spotlight of what he described as "the biggest political job in the country". It was, he said, "a proud occasion" for him.