Taoiseach’s headache eases but Galway hangover yet to disappear

IT was a cold shower to cure the hangover that just wouldn’t go away: Brian Cowen gritted his teeth and took a chilling step out of Government Buildings to face up to a media storm over a backbench revolt threatening to oust him from office.

He emerged spruced up, brushed down and with a convincing appearance that he was ready to face a new political day with renewed energy.

The Taoiseach would have to be given top marks for effort with an articulate delivery of his message in stark contrast to the disastrous Morning Ireland interview last week.

There was no sign of hoarseness when he spoke with an almost forced clarity about the “specific tasks” facing his Government, the “coherent and well-judged” response to the economic crisis and his own “determination” to succeed.

The week’s events had left him abashed but not nervous as he made a short statement, followed by questions and answers, which were littered with words like “focus” and “clearly”.

In a contrived display of unity, the Taoiseach appeared shoulder to shoulder with the man who Fianna Fáil backbenchers had wanted to plot to overthrow him – Finance Minister Brian Lenihan.

There was no obvious signs of tension between both men but neither made eye contact during the 10 minutes or so that they spoke in unity about their determination for a stable Government to solve our economic woes.

Last Thursday, sympathetic Fianna Fáil TDs said they would give Mr Cowen a matter of days to improve his communication skills if he was to stay on in the job.

Like a cat using up his ninth life, he did what they asked of him yesterday and gave the appearance of a man who genuinely cared about the country and wanted to explain to his people his plans for bringing it back on track.

Many will hold their breath to see how long his improved public appearance will last.

He has eased the Fianna Fáil headache for now, but as the hangover is not gone away, the pain is likely to return.


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