Saturday 16 December 2017

Spot the next Taoiseach

Gemma O'Doherty

As a schoolboy, Brian Cowen vowed that he would never become a politician. The son of a TD, he watched the profession consume his father Ber's life and was determined not to follow in his footsteps.

But at the age of 12, within weeks of entering the cloistered walls of Tipperary's Mount St Joseph Abbey as a boarder, the mould was cast for the making of a man who would one day hold the highest office in the land.

A breeding ground for young politicians, the Trappist monastery run by the Cistercians in Roscrea has produced a disproportionate number of statesmen through the years, including three consecutive Ministers for Foreign Affairs: Dick Spring, David Andrews and Brian Cowen. The Taoiseach-elect also shared a classroom with Fianna Fail MEP Eoin Ryan.

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