herald

Thursday 16 August 2018

Cowen in the clear as revolt quashed

Brian Cowen has staggered to safety for now after his Garglegate catastrophe.

His immediate future as Taoiseach looked a little surer today, but backbenchers too terrified of a General Election expect him to be thrown out sooner rather than later.

Calls for a special meeting to debate Mr Cowen's performance were rejected by the Government chief whip last night in what is expected to mark the end of current speculation surrounding Mr Cowen.

But Junior Minister Conor Lenihan last night suggested the rumblings will not go away altogether. He said that it remained an "open question" as to whether Fianna Fail could change leader without sparking a general election.

Speculation

And he refused to quell speculation that his brother, Finance Minister Brian Lenihan, would consider making a heave in the future. He said he was "not his brother's keeper", but added that if Mr Cowen "wishes to lead this party into the next General Election, he will do so".

Speaking on RTE's Frontline programme, Mr Lenihan said: "I believe the Taoiseach has made great moves to restore that authority, first of all with a fulsome apology and his decisive action to mark closure over this thing."

His comments came after former minister Tom Kitt called for a special meeting of the parliamentary party to discuss the leadership issue.

Mr Kitt was backed by Dublin North TD Michael Kennedy, but was shot down by Chief Whip John Curran, who said he didn't see "any demand" for such a gathering.

"It would be nothing other than a distraction from the real issues," he said.

Mr Cowen also sought to put the issue to bed yesterday by holding an impromptu press conference alongside Brian Lenihan. Mr Lenihan said that the only rumbles he was interested in were the ones on the global markets.

kdoyle@herald.ie

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