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Editorial: Time for the next leader to speak up

TAOISEACH Brian Cowen was today taking soundings from his own TDs over concerns about his leadership.

Mr Cowen is apparently under some pressure to complete the process quickly after days of worrying claims about his meetings with Anglo Irish Bank chiefs.

It is somewhat disquieting to the outside observer to see the way this entire issue has been handled by the Fianna Fail party.

There is plenty of discontent with Mr Cowen's performance but not one of his potential replacements has shown the courage to challenge him openly.

The party may well be facing decimation in the General Election but that is hardly an excuse for inaction in the face of these worrying claims.

It hardly bodes well for the future of the party's next leader if he or she is publicly unwilling to stake their colours to the mast and tell Mr Cowen his time is up.