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Eamon Keane: Cowen will have to be dragged kicking from his position

We come into this world screaming. We usually leave with a whimper. Not so the leaders of Fianna Fail. They have to be dragged screaming out of their dying political lives.

CJ Haughey, Albert Reynolds, Bertie Ahern and now Brian Cowen.

In the light of David Drumm's new allegations that Taoiseach Brian Cowen did interfere with the NTMA about Anglo, an allegation denied by Cowen, how much longer can Cowen last?

It is also reported today that one of the members of the famous golf dinner, Central Bank member Alan Gray, was subsequently lobbied by Sean FitzPatrick and Drumm the day before the bank guarantee.


Wasn't it very lucky for Seanie that he previously met Gray at the golf outing? However like Bertie, poor Brian Cowen appears to be very unlucky in the company he keeps.

But still Cowen clings to power. Clings as thousands of people lay on hospital trolleys in this country. Clings as hundreds of children walk around adult psychiatric wards because there are no juvenile places for them.

Clings as 400,000 unemployed people spend another day struggling for dignity. Clings on the day the French President Sarkozy looks to take apart our corporation tax rate. Just who is he hanging on for? In the great FF tradition, it is himself. Cowen's reputation, would be further weakened by having it said that he was forced out of office by his own party

Self-preservation. Secondary to that is the party interest. If he really cares about it, he will resign. They are now at 14pc in the polls and 90pc of voters do not want him as Taoiseach. In whose interest is leading them into an election?

We were told that Cowen gave a great performance at the Parliamentary Party meeting. I saw minister Barry Andrews praising Cowen on RTE. A "superb speech" and all that bullshit. Where were the superb speeches when Anglo were putting together a controversial deal to save its shares?

Where were the superb speeches when he gave an all- encompassing guarantee to Anglo debt? Where were they last Sunday when Cowen conveniently forgot to tell the whole truth about the golf outing? Cowen is best when saving his own behind it appears.

So why won't Brian Cowen step down? Don't all political careers end in failure? Well, in Fianna Fail they end in ignominy. It is not in the FF DNA to resign. Charlie Haughey hung on and on .

After a series of scandals, he refused to go until, in 1992, his fellow TD Sean Doherty revealed that Haughey had knowledge of the bugging of journalists phones back in 1982. CJ Haughey was eventually dragged screaming out of the political world .

Albert Reynolds exited with slightly more dignity but he too hung on and on. In 1994 Dick Spring led his Labour ministers out of Albert's Coalition cabinet meeting . The Attorney General Harry Whelehan's handling of the Brendan Smyth extradition was the cause of the upset. Albert went before Dail to try and hang on. He, too, had to be dragged out after Dick Spring's party later resigned from the Coalition.

And then there was Bertie. Bertie, after years of tribunal allegations, resigned when people couldn't swallow the story about the horse that won £15,000 pounds for him.


Bertie who, like Brian, forgot certain bits of information when explaining potential scandals. Bertie who, like Brian and CJ, had business friends with direct access to the Taoiseach of the day. Brian Cowen is damaging people's faith in politics by clinging on to power.

In Danny Boyle's new movie 127 Hours, a mountain climber is trapped when his arm becomes wedged under a boulder. In order to save himself he has to decide whether or not to cut off his arm. The arm could kill him if he doesn't. He cuts it off with a knife.

Will someone in Fianna Fail please do the necessary to save their party ?

Blog: www.citizenkeane.ie twitter@eamonbkeane