Tuesday 20 March 2018

Johnny Fallon: Brian Cowen refused to communicate with his own cabinet, let alone the mislead voters

Johnny Fallon

LAST night we were treated to the examination of the Cowen government on RTE. It provided yet another look into the soul of the Celtic tiger and the lack of understanding that accompanied its downfall. The most striking thing about it was the comment from former cabinet members. It was patently obvious that most had little or no information on what was actually going on and even less grasp on what they might do.

While it is easy for other commentators to speculate it was a very different story from those at the coalface. Some contributions painted the picture far too simplistically. Matt Cooper seemed to feel the answers were obvious and so did David McWilliams; both were re-inventing the story with hindsight. While a number of former Ministers still lacked the humility to say, ‘look we got decisions woefully wrong and had no idea what was going on’.

Mary O’Rourke provided some of the best comment both in terms of her assessment of Cowen and her assessment of where things went wrong. There can be little doubt but that up to 2004 Ireland had a strong economy that was facing serious challenges. The programme quite rightly pointed out that the situation was still retrievable at this point. However, that fateful day when Brian Cowen came to finance, as O’Rourke described as someone more willing to do Bertie’s bidding than McCreevy, was a day that should live in infamy.

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