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Readers Blog: Honouring Brian Cowen is shameful

When the recession hit, as a public health service worker approximately 20% of my income was taken overnight.

However I was grateful for my job, as so many had lost theirs.

Being committed to my job and profession, I decided to continue with my professional education and personal development.

I went to work, studied part-time and lived on a shoestring whilst completing a PhD over five years. It was a great challenge and I hope to repay the total costs of about €20,000 to my local credit union in three years time.

In a nutshell, I think I made the best use of difficult times, though of course with related costs.

However, I was greatly taken aback to see that former taoiseach Brian Cowen was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Law for his role in Irish politics.

I have no doubt that Mr Cowen was an astute politician and professional over his lifetime, but I and probably many others cannot but associate him with his role in the hardship and suffering of many people in this country during the recessionary period — and for many years to come.

While some of us were just about picking ourselves up from the constraints of recent years and getting on with it, to see anyone being awarded for their role in politics at a time in history that I will never forget, is very difficult to swallow, to say the least.

Knowing the personal/financial costs and challenges in completing a doctorate, at a symbolic level alone there is surely something perverse about awarding an honorary doctorate to a then leading politician who was so closely aligned with such national misery. Apart from the fury I feel, have we any shame at all in this country?

Where it appears that we conservatively reward success, though ridiculously so reward catastrophe.

John Connolly
Co Cork


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