Barry Cowen voices ambition for top Fianna Fáil job

Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen has declared his desire to follow his brother Brian and become leader of the party.

Speaking ahead of the deputy leaders’ debate on TV3 last night, Mr Cowen said he was chosen by the party leadership because he was available and in close distance to Dublin.

“It is only by virtue of who is available and who can make it to Dublin that I am doing it. Nothing more can be read into it,” he said.

When pressed by reporters about why Fianna Fáil does not have a deputy leader, Mr Cowen said: “We are all deputy leaders. We have one leader, an alternative taoiseach.”

He was then asked whether he would like the job of deputy leader. Mr Cowen not only said yes to that, but declared his ambition to be leader.

“Of course I’d love to be deputy leader, I’d love to be leader, but sure that’s not here nor there. So would this man, so would 19 others at this point,” he said.

Mr Cowen is a first-time TD, succeeding former taoiseach Brian, who retired from politics in 2011.

Asked about his brother, Mr Cowen said he is “enjoying the campaign”.

“My esteemed brother is a member of the organisation, a member of the party and he is playing his role the same as all others, as he is entitled to do so as a private citizen.

“He is enjoying the campaign as everybody else is. He too is enjoying the engagement that is taking place.”

Mr Martin did not fill the deputy leader position following the resignation of Eamon Ó Cuiv in 2012.

Mr Ó Cuív resigned as deputy leader over his refusal to support the party’s position on the EU Fiscal Compact treaty and cited “irreconcilable differences” with Micheál Martin.

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