Mary O’Rourke is the latest Fianna Fail heavyweight to bash Brian Cowen’s time as leader of Ireland.

The former Minister has echoed critical comments about Cowen’s leadership made by her nephew Brian Lenihan.

O’Rourke, who was forced to hand back election expenses to her local FF branch yesterday, claimed Cowen should have resigned last year after his infamous radio interview in Galway.

Cowen made headlines around the world for his appearance on the national radio station RTE when he claimed he was ‘congested’.

“He should have gone after the radio appearance but he was a good leader up to a point,” O’Rourke told the Irish Independent.

“That episode was pivotal in the wrong way for the Fianna Fail) party but having said that, I wish him well.”
Like ousted Finance Minister Lenihan, O’Rourke was critical of Cowen’s communication skills.

She added: “It did seem to get to a point where it seemed he didn’t want to engage with the public.”

Now retired from politics, O’Rourke did welcome the experience of the new government whose average age is 55.

“I would much prefer to see the wise old head of Michael Noonan negotiating for us in Europe rather than some pesky 34-year-old,” she added.

“There is far too much emphasis on the average age of the cabinet being 55; it’s experience that matters most these days.”

Former minister Mary O'Rourke