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Laois-Offaly TD Barry Cowen Screengrab
One Year On

Barry Cowen: I want to be seen as more than just Brian's brother

The Laois-Offaly TD, one of only three new Fianna Fáil TDs to be elected in last year’s general election, said he would never have ran for the Dáil if Brian Cowen hadn’t stepped down.

ONE YEAR ON from the general election, Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen says that in time he hopes that people will think of him as more than the brother of former Taoiseach Brian Cowen.

The Laois-Offaly TD, who was one of only three new Fianna Fáil TDs to be elected last year, said that he would admit that he had gained a large number of votes based on his brother’s reputation in the area.

“I will face up to that on my own. It has afforded me to opportunity to be elected in the first instance. It is up to me now to take that with both hands and prove to a wider audience that I am more than capable of representing the people who elected me in a manner that befits the position,” he said.

“When I go back to the electorate the next time it will be on the basis of what I have brought to the table; it will be on the basis of what I have achieved; it will be on the basis of how I have represented them. That will be the ultimate test,” he added.

When asked if he was concerned that being related to Brian Cowen may lose him votes, he said that the people of his local constituency were more discerning that that:

You will have to give them credit for that. We received in the constituency a percentage of about 28 per cent, as compared to 18 per cent in the rest of the country. That tells its own story. That is based on the performance on those who came before us and that is based on the loyalty that people felt towards the organisation and towards the party

The father of four added that if his brother decided to rerun that he would not have ran for election and would have stayed in local politics.

“If things had run its course in the manner in which one might have expected, there is no doubt that I probably would never have ran for election to Dáil Eireann,” he said.

“I was quite happy to play my role as a local councillor in the Tullamore electoral area of Offaly County Council. Had Brian Cowen continued in politics, I was not going to challenge him.”

Mr Cowen added that he didn’t think much of the media invasion into his brother’s private life saying that it was not fair game and hoped the current Taoiseach never suffers that level of intrusion.

Watch the interview with Barry Cowen:

This interview is part of a series of interviews with politicians one year on from the 2011 general election. Tomorrow: Former minister Eamon Ryan talks about what the Green Party did wrong – and what he is doing to revive the party.

Read further articles in the series:

Paul Gogarty: I’m considering joining Fianna Fáil >

Mary O’Rourke: Current Dáil TDs are ‘not very bright or intelligent’ >

Do I regret accosting Bertie Ahern? Not at all, says first-time TD >

Read more of‘s look back at one year since General Election 2011>

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