Brian Cowen making 'slow and steady progress' after stroke

His wife Mary and daughters, Sinéad and Meadhbh, provided an update on his health at the Laois-Offaly election count in recent days.

Brian Cowen making 'slow and steady progress' after stroke

Former Taoiseach Brian Cowen is making "slow and steady progress" after suffering a "very bad stroke and a bleed to the brain" last July.

His wife Mary and daughters, Sinéad and Meadhbh, provided an update on his health at the Laois-Offaly election count in recent days.

Mrs Cowen said on Midlands 103 radio that she "really couldn't say" when the former Taoiseach will be able to return home and that he has a "long road" ahead of him.

She said he is more positive, though, and that he is making progress.

Mr Cowen is continuing to receive treatment but is no longer in a full hospital setting following a bleed to the brain last July.

Brian is now starting to see the progress himself, Mary said: "He's beginning to see progress now himself which is very encouraging for him, whereas we've seen progress before him because we've been with him from day-one when he was very seriously ill."

He's very encouraged by what he's doing at the moment, he's very determined and hopes to walk again and get out and come home soon.

She said that Mr Cowen "hadn't been feeling well for a few days" before collapsing and suffering a stroke.

He was due to attend to the Beacon on July 4 for a routine procedure. However, that night, he "collapsed and he had a very bad stroke and a very bad bleed to the brain", Mrs Cowen said.

He was transferred quickly to St Vincent's Hospital in Dublin where he was resuscitated and transferred to the ICU. He remained in Vincent's for five months.

"He is now in rehab and that's what he is at at the moment," Mrs Cowen said.

He is now working on his rehabilitation, undergoing various therapies and strengthening up in the gym with various exercises.

Mary and her daughters attended the count centre in Portlaoise to watch Barry Cowen be returned to the Dáil for the third time. It was the first time he was elected without his brother by his side.

But, Mary said, Brian was keeping a close eye in the hospital: "He is watching with great interest: he would be here [at the count] if he was well enough. He still has great interest. He is in good spirits."

Mary was joined by her daughters, Sinéad and Meadhbh.

Sinéad told Midlands 103 that "it has been very difficult" for the whole family, while Meadhbh criticised the "uncalled for" negative comments that appeared on social media in the wake of her father's illness.

"He is a person, at the end of the day, and he went through a really traumatic time," she said.

Mrs Cowen said she ignored any negative comments made about her husband in the wake of his health scare and insisted that the overall response was a positive outpouring of well wishes. She thanked those who passed on messages of support to Brian, herself and their family.

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