Brian Cowen's family say former taoiseach has 'long road ahead' after suffering bleed on the brain

Former taoiseach Brian Cowen's family have said the seriously ill ex-politician has a "long road ahead" after confirming he is slowly recovering from a bleed on the brain earlier this month.

Brian Cowen's family say former taoiseach has 'long road ahead' after suffering bleed on the brain

Former taoiseach Brian Cowen's family have said the seriously ill ex-politician has a "long road ahead" after confirming he is slowly recovering from a bleed on the brain earlier this month.

Mr Cowen's brother, Barry Cowen, outlined the former taoiseach's prognosis on Monday in the family's first public comments since Mr Cowen fell ill on July 4.

After experiencing health problems in the weeks beforehand, Mr Cowen was rushed to a private hospital in Dublin a fortnight ago with a bleed on the brain and fears of a stroke.

Concern grew in the subsequent days that the 59-year-old former taoiseach, who was subsequently transferred to St Vincent's in Dublin, was seriously ill and may not recover.

However, speaking on RTE Radio's Liveline programme on Monday, Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen said his brother is making a slow recovery and thanked the public for "all the messages of goodwill".

"Brian's progress is slow, but it's progress nonetheless," Barry Cowen said.

"There might be a long road ahead, but there's a road ahead, and we're delighted that's the case.

"The family is greatly encouraged and most thankful for all the messages of goodwill that are flooding in from, obviously from our hometown and country, but throughout the country," he said.

Barry Cowen was speaking after Offaly golfer Shane Lowry, who like the Cowens is from Clara, won The Open championship in Portrush on Sunday.

The Fianna Fáil TD said Mr Lowry's achievement has "given us all a great lift" and confirmed "the golf was on in the room" where Brian Cowen is currently continuing to receive treatment.

Yesterday [Sunday] and the weekend has given us all a great lift because it was a fantastic achievement and we share in that the same as any other member of the community or the town does.

“The golf was on in the room, no one no more than himself [Brian Cowen] would love to be there," Barry Cowen said.

After Brian Cowen's serious health issues became public knowledge at the start of this month, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was among many politicians to wish him a speedy recovery.

"I served in the Dáil with Brian Cowen for a number of years and I really hope if he is unwell, as I hear he is, that he makes a speedy recovery," he said.

While Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin has stepped away from commenting publicly on what has happened out of respect for the family's privacy, senior party sources said he is continuing to stay in regular contact with the Cowens and to offer his support.

Brian Cowen was first elected as a TD for Laois-Offaly in 1984 after the death of his father Ber, and served as a TD until he retired from politics after Fianna Fáil's disastrous 2011 general election.

In addition to serving as health, foreign affairs and finance minister at various times between 1997 and 2008, Mr Cowen was also taoiseach during the first three years of the economic crash, from May 2008 to 2011.

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