Fears Cowen-bashing could backfire

ATTEMPTS by former Fianna Fáil ministers to distance themselves from the decisions of Brian Cowen’s government could backfire with criticism growing of their attempts to “hang him out to dry.”

Former junior minister Martin Mansergh said those who tried to heap blame for the crisis on Mr Cowen in a two-part TV documentary, had ignored “the doctrine of collective responsibility” in cabinet.

The second part of Crisis: Inside the Cowen Government will air on RTÉ tonight.

In it, former ministers, Mary Hanafin, Willie O’Dea and Micheál Martin speak about events surrounding the IMF bailout, the cabinet reshuffle and a drinking session involving Mr Cowen at a party think-in.

Mr Martin criticises the way the bailout was communicated, saying: “the way it was managed was poor. It was another debacle.”

The current Fianna Fáil leader criticised Mr Cowen’s communication skills and budget decisions in last week’s programme.

Sources close to the former taoiseach were quoted yesterday saying he felt he was “hung out to dry” and that his family were hurt by personal remarks about his drinking habits.

Speaking about the programme, Mr Mansergh said: “I’m all in favour of considered critical self-analysis of what went wrong. But I’m not in favour of ‘it was all his fault’ type of thing. You’re talking about collective decisions.”

Asked if Mr Cowen had been hung out to dry, he said: “I would prefer self-criticism because I don’t belive very much in the one man explanation of anything in history.”

Fianna Fáil Senator Darragh O’Brien said Mary Hanafin had been “self serving” in her criticism of the manner in which the bank guarantee decision was made.

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