It's open season on Brian Cowen - even his school days in Cistercian College Roscrea (where we were classmates from 1972 to 1977) are being dragged up. Terence Cosgrove wrote in the Sunday Independent on 19th September last that Cowen beat me up when I was 12, so what? In a peculiar article, Cosgrove (who I do not recall) writes that Brian Cowen "beat the living daylights out of" him and at the same time states that he doesn't blame him for all this and that he doesn't "have the slightest bit of bitterness towards him". He goes on to describe a lively school debate where Cowen continuously "heckled and interrupted" another speaker, after which he got "wild cheering and clapping". As it was a school debate, no doubt I was there - but I do not remember his antics of speaking through the chair (literally), or anything else about the debate. I do remember Brian Cowen being an excellent and passionate debater in both Irish and English debates.
|Brian Cowen in the 1970's.
Photo from RTÉ.IE.
Why does Terence Cosgrave drag this up from the past? Making a statement like "BRIAN Cowen beat the living daylights out of me", and then passing it off as he "wasn't the only boy who gave a younger one a thumping", seems odd to me. The article was written in the aftermath of Cowen's Morning Ireland interview, and Cosgrove's message was he got over his beating, so get over Cowen's performance on the radio. Very mixed messages.
A letter writer to the Sunday Independent of 26th September, Anne Lawlor, in responding to the article, moans that the people who are running our country are "nothing more than bullies and cowards". She further states that "boys will be boys...we need grown-ups, though, to run the country -- small wonder it's in the mess it is". So she is making a connection between an incident in 1977 and the mess the country is in today. I thought it was the banks and property developers who are responsible for this "mess" - but no it seems it's because "boys will be boys"!
Dr Michael Fallon, in a letter to the Sunday Independent of October 3rd last, strikes a more carefully thought out and factual response to Cosgrove's article - Lessons to learn. Dr Fallon (Mick as we knew him) was also a classmate of ours, and he recalls an excellent educational environment where debate was encouraged. He writes that "Roscrea simply wasn't that kind of school" to the impression that Cosgrove gives about the school and Brian Cowen. Like Mick, I recall excellent teachers "whose enthusiasm and dedication, nurtured very successful English and Irish debating teams". Also like Mick, I remember Brian Cowen as a boy who "had no need for cheap gimmicks -- his knowledge, wit, passionate delivery and, above all, his ability to see through waffle, made him a formidable opponent".
Well said Mick Fallon!