Dont Mention the R Word Says Cowen; Brian Cowen: Its Crazy

Daily Mail (London), June 25, 2008 | Go to article overview

Dont Mention the R Word Says Cowen; Brian Cowen: Its Crazy


Byline: John Lee

TAOISEACH Brian Cowen yesterday refused to accept that the country wasin recessionbranding his critics crazy for suggesting that we were heading back into a1980s-style slump.

Despite the nations most respected think-tank saying we are in recession, MrCowen refused to use the word during a Dail debate.

And he offered no immediate solutions to the growing financial crisis, sayingthat matters would be addressed in Decembers Budget.

To portray that from being a very successful economy to being an unsuccessfuleconomy is crazy and is obviously an absurd proposition, an increasingly tetchyTaoiseach said in reply to Opposition demands for action.

Mr Cowen was accused of being in denial about the countrys faltering economy.

His opponents chastised him for offering no answers, no strategy and nocomprehension of the scale of problems outlined in a report from the Economicand Social Research Institute (ESRI).

Fine Gael accused him of turning Irelands boom to bust. The consequences ofBrian Cowens neglect were to turn a ?2billion surplus into a deficit of?8billion and rising, which has totally destroyed the Governments room formanoeuvre in the public finances, leader Enda Kenny said.

Then the newly installed Finance Minister Brian Lenihan appeared to send out amixed message by admitting to there being serious problems in the economy.

But in contrast to his boss, Mr Lenihan seemed more ready to act by saying theGovernment will not decide on a clear plan to tackle the economic turmoil untilthe half yearly Exchequer results are released next Wednesday.

The ESRI report said the economy will experience recession by end of year forthe first time since 1983.

Mr Kenny said: It appears now that the days when Brian Cowen was a straighttalker are over. Rather than admit that the economy is in recession and set outa plan of action to deal with the reality we get useless generalities.

Mr Cowen and Mr Lenihan both vowed to take resolute action to deal with aserious problem facing the Irish economy but it was unclear what exactly theaction is.

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