Monday 18 December 2017

Johnny Fallon: FF survived all the shady characters and was brought to its knees by an honest man

LAST night RTE finished its two part documentary on the crises in the Cowen government. For anybody associated with Fianna Fail it made painful viewing. Yet there are many lessons to be learned.

For me the most insightful comment of the night went to John Gormley who said in his assessment of Cowen that he was perhaps never as good as people said but also never as bad as he was made out to be during the darker days. In the cold hard light of history that comment is probably as fair as one can expect. Brian Cowen was a considerable politician, he worked in many different ministries and would lay claim to a range of achievements in all.

Those who wish to say he never did anything in his career are simply pushing their own agenda. But on the other side of it, Cowen was never a risk taker, he never ran with the opinion of one civil servant or any other individual, instead he waited to build a consensus. When pretty much all those involved in the civil service in a Department agreed on a course of action, then and only then would he take it. This approach is not without merit and served him well until he became Minister for Finance.

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