A MEMBER of one of the country’s best-known political dynasties told the Irish Mail on Sunday yesterday that Taoiseach Brian Cowen is a ‘disgrace’, ‘a failure as a leader’ and ‘pursuing a personal life that is causing him to fail in his obligations to the people.’ Eamonn Blaney, the son of Neil Blaney, a former Fianna Fail TD and a controversial cabinet minister who was sacked in the midst of the Arms Crisis of 1970, also revealed to MoS that he intends to run in the next General Election because he is ‘appalled and ashamed’ of the performance of national politicians.
Embarrassingly for Mr. Cowen, Eamonn Blaney is the first cousin of one of the Taoiseach’s closest supporters – Niall Blaney, Fianna Fail TD for Donegal North East. ‘The Taoiseach’s performance has been an absolute disgrace and how he pursues his personal life is not displaying example and social guidance for the nation,’ said Mr. Blaney. ‘You have to ask would Barack Obama have to helped to be up at 5.00am in the morning,’ he said. ‘Mr. Cowen looks terrible and he is obviously pursuing a hugely unhealthy lifestyle.
‘When you are Taoiseach of this country you have obligations to this country and to its people and I believe that Brian Cowen and his Cabinet have no respect for the offices they hold.’ Eamonn’s father, Neil Blaney, stood up to Charles Haughey all of his political life. Mr. Blaney says that he received more than 5,000 hits on his personal website after his controversial appearance on RTE’s Frontline programme last week.
‘The Taoiseach and his Cabinet Ministers are not leading, they are not in the trenches,’ said Mr. Blaney. ‘We, the people are in the trenches, but they are not with us. I have stayed away from politics until now, but it is time to stand as an independent and take Michael Wood’s seat in Dublin north east.’ Donegal North East TD Niall Blaney told MoS that he was hurt that his cousin had gone public with his views. ‘His father was a TD and he feels that he should be dictating my political views. To be honest, we don’t have much contact. It’s unfortunate that it should come out in that way,’ said Niall Blaney.
Eamonn Blaney appeared on a Frontline discussion on unemployment last Monday. His contribution won a large round of applause from the audience. ‘I met Brian Cowen before and I heard him speaking before he was elected Taoiseach and he gave a very impassioned, from-the-heart speech about what he would do if he was leader,’ said Mr. Blaney speaking on Frontline. ‘And I said to him afterwards “you know Brian if you actually do what you say you’re going to do I’d consider joining Fianna Fail.”
‘The fact of the matter is that Brian Cowen has absolutely, totally let down this country. ‘Brian Cowen is a very capable, a very intelligent and very affable person, but the reality of Brian Cowen is that he was a member of the legal profession and probably was very good at that. That does not qualify you run a country. ‘In terms of leadership, where is he bringing us? Where is he? Is he speaking my language?’ Eamonn Blaney’s father, Neil, was sacked by Fianna Fail Taoiseach Jack Lynch during the Arms Crisis of 1970. He had served as a Minister of Cabinet on three occasions.
He continued to represent the Donegal North East constituency in the Dail, initially as an Independent TD, and remained an outspoken critic of Charles Haughey for the rest of his life. He subsequently formed his own political organisation, known as Independent Fianna Fail, which contested Dail and local elections in Donegal. He was elected in every Dail election since his first attempt in 1948, and served until his death in 1995.
Eamonn Blaney echoes his father’s views on Mr. Haughey. ‘He was liar and a thief and the Irish political system has never recovered from that man taking power.’ He also criticised Mr. Cowen’s lack of business knowledge (I was referring to Minister Conor Lenihan, not Cowan, EB) on Frontline. ‘When’s the last time he tried to start a small business?’ he asked. ‘Does he have any idea what that takes? Does he know what it’s like to create a job? When’s the last time he did, instead of losing 450,000 of them. I mean the best resource we have in this country the people in this room. ‘Yet we’re all being ignored, it’s like, you’re unemployed, so go away, be quiet, live on 196 quid a week and look it, if you can’t pay your rent just go down and beg on the social welfare.
A poll yesterday revealed that 29pc of people polled would be more likely to vote for the party if Mr. Cowen were to be replaced. More than a quarter of the electorate would switch their vote to Fianna Fail if the party ditched Brian Cowen as leader. The news is likely to push opponents within the party into removing him and sparking a General election. The red C poll in today’s Sunday Business Post also says 64pc of the electorate have no confidence in Mr. Cowen as Taoiseach. Fianna Fail remains at a historically low 24pc, neck and neck with the Labour Party at 23pc.