Former taoiseach Cowen taken ill at Oireachtas golf event in April

Brian Cowen

Former taoiseach Brian Cowen was hospitalised recently after taking ill at an Oireachtas golf society event.

The event, at Lahinch Golf Club, the venue for the forthcoming Irish Open, is attended by members of the Oireachtas past and present, as well as staff and the media.

Among those present was another former taoiseach, Enda Kenny.

It is understood Mr Cowen arrived at the Captain’s prize event, hosted by Michael Harty, an Independent TD for Clare and captain of the Oireachtas golf society, but was feeling unwell as he reached the venue on Thursday, April 25.

According to sources at the event, Mr Cowen, aged 59, did not look well and was examined by Dr Harty before play began.

“He did not look well when he arrived and clearly was not in a condition to play,” said one participant. “Luckily, Dr Harty was there to examine him on site and have the presence of mind to send him off to hospital.”

Mr Cowen complained about his breathing and Dr Harty, concerned with Mr Cowen’s condition, declared him unfit to play and sent the former taoiseach into Limerick Regional Hospital by ambulance, where he spent several days.

Sources close to the former Taoiseach said that he had some fluid on his lungs, which had to be relieved.

Mr Cowen has since made a full recovery and was present at the funeral of GAA legend Eugene McGee last week.

When contacted by the Irish Examiner, Mr Cowen said he had no comment.

Mr Cowen, who has maintained a low profile since leaving politics in 2011, remains a very popular figure among colleagues in Fianna Fail and across the political divide.

Mr Cowen was Taoiseach between 2008 and 2011 and a TD for Laois-Offaly between 1984 and 2011, having held the seat previously occupied by his father, Ber.

One of the reasons for Mr Cowen’s departure from office was the revelation that he held a round of golf with former Anglo Irish Bank chairman Sean Fitzpatrick ahead of their bailout.

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