Posted by Turlough Delaney on April 8, 2008
Brian Cowen will be crowned chief of Fianna Fáil at a televised coronation ceremony it has been revealed.
Mr Cowen’s coronation will be the first of its kind to be broadcast live to the viewing public and so is predicted to attract a large audience.
However, a sizable body of grassroot Fianna Fáil members, including a number of backbench TDs are opposed to the “sacred” ceremony being screened on RTE.
Cork TD Ned O’Keeffe claimed to do so “would debase such a venerable occasion as Brian Cowen’s ascending to the all-powerful Thirty-Third Degree of Fianna Fáilery, that is, leader…
“The thought of all those Blueshirts and Stickies looking in on us during our most solemn, reverential moment makes me feel nauseous. This should be for FFers eyes only.”
Nevertheless, the majority of the parliamentary party, including Mr Cowen himself, back the plan to broadcast his momentous day.
Since the announcement, it has been reported that sales of televisions have exploded across the midlands region in the desire to witness their prodigal son become top dog.
Chief Whippersnapper Tom Kitt said Brian Cowen was the only deputy to forward his name as successor to Bertie Ahern on May 7:
“This is the first time in nearly half a century that there has been a bloodless transfer of leadership in Fianna Fáil, with one candidate backed by all members.
“For this reason alone we believe it should be celebrated by everyone, not just the party” he continued, “as well as preserving it for future generations to enjoy. What’s wrong with letting the wider public take part in the anointing of Brian Cowen?”
The ceremony itself will be overseen by members of Mr Cowen’s local cumann in Offaly. Already they have meticulously planned the event down every last detail. On the day in question, Brian Cowen’s cortège will travel from Leinster House to Dublin Castle.
There Mr Cowen – dressed in the traditional Gaelic garb of woollen tunic, long-sleeved trousers, dark green linen cloak and hurley in right hand – will be adorned with the diamond Destiny broach by Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin.
The wearing of the broach will signify that ‘Curley Mop O’Comhain’ (so nicknamed in his GAA days) has achieved the rank of Chief Soldier of Destiny.
So far there has been no denial of the rumour that Celtic chanteuse Enya has been hired to serenade the newly-broached leader as his procession departs from the castle’s courtyard to meet his adoring public.
The son of former TD Bernard Cowen, who himself had reached the rank of Thirty Degree Master Fianna Fáiler, Brian Cowen was elected to the Dáil in 1974 at the unripe age of 14 after his father’s untimely passing.
Being exposed to the ruthless cut-and-thrust of the Oireachtas at such an early age served him in good stead, and he quickly gained a reputation as a doughty political warrior.
In 1979, after the forced abdication of Jack Lynch, he was appointed by Charles Haughey to the post of Minister for Horses – for two hours – before being later demoted to the Junior Ministry of Pigeons and Telegrams.
In 1994, Mr Cowen became Transport, Embroidery and Ghettoisation minister until the collapse of Fianna Fáil rational behaviour later that year.
After the party returned to government in 1997, new Taoiseach Bertie Ahern made him Minister for Mental Health – a position he famously dubbed “Arsehole City”.
He was later promoted to Foreign Minister – a post he held for four years before resigning in embarrassment after Ian Paisley refused to refrain from calling him ‘Ju-Ju Lips’ in negotiations.
He attained another important cabinet post with the Finance Ministry in 2004, where he has achieved little of consequence.
By nature a contrary and violent politician, he will face the task of wooing Labour into an alliance, but is not expected to squeeze out the PDs and Greens for some months.