- 30 Mar 23
TD Cian O’Callaghan described Cowan’s remarks as a “new low” for the government. Today, when asked if his choice of words was appropriate, Cowen said, “It is pedantic, a focus on words, not the message.”
Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen faced backlash after comparing extending the eviction ban to "making sweets free for children" at Wednesday's no confidence motion.
"Keeping or extending the ban is not necessarily going to solve this crisis," said the Laois–Offaly TD. "It is like making sweets free for children. It is fine for a little while, but ultimately detrimental to the greater need."
Extending #EvictionBan like "making sweets free for children"
"It's fine for a little while but ultimately detrimental to the greater need" @CowenBarry #WhereDoWeGo #NoConfidence pic.twitter.com/PLu1oLvkaR
— Mick Caul (@caulmick) March 29, 2023
Cowen requested that opposition politicians instead focus on adopting the updated tenant in situ scheme, which allows for local authorities to buy homes where tenants face eviction if the landlord decides to leave the market. Labour TD, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, called Cowen's analogy “disgraceful."
Speaking today with RTE Radio 1, Cowen clarified that he hadn't intended on offending anyone.
"My intention was to focus on issues, the solutions that are available,” he explained, adding "I have four children myself. I love my children."
Interviewer Claire Byrne then cut him off: "It’s not the children you’re offending, it’s the tenants.”
4,741 eviction notices were issued by landlords in the three months that proceeded the October ban, which protected thousands from homelessness in the Autumn and Winter months.
This is proof, as if any was needed that Barry Cowan and his Fianna Fáil ilk are totally detached from reality. Imagine you’re facing eviction and listening to this. #HousingCrisis https://t.co/lW8gkJkIjr
— liam cunningham 🏴☠️ (@liamcunningham1) March 30, 2023
Byrne challenged Cowen's apology, asking him why he kept repeating the words "if people were offended."
“It wasn’t my intention to offend them," charged Cowen. "What more much more do you want me to say?”
Cowen requested that the two focus on solutions, and noted acting government plans to provide for those who given Notices to Quit.
“There is a programme in place to deal with that," argued the politician. "As late as it was coming to the table, it’s there and I would expect other TDs like Cian O’Callaghan and Aodhán Ó Ríordáin and anybody else that had a problem with what I said yesterday, to ensure that the cases that have been brought to their attention get the sort of resolution that the government has put in place.
"Opposition detractors who have no time for me or never will have any time for me are only too delighted to pick up on the the analogy I used by virtue of the fact that it seeks to give the impression that I somehow had no empathy or feeling for the people I represent."
Earlier this afternoon, Minister for Social Protection of Ireland Heather Humphreys defended Cowen.
"To be fair to Barry," said the Fine Gael politician, "he was on the radio this morning and he clarified that issue and can I just say Barry’s a hard worker, an absolutely committed public representative who is very aware and very conscious of the issues in his own constituency of Laois-Offaly and he’s a very good colleague.”
According to the latest article on The Ditch's website, Cowen didn't declare his rental income from farmland that he hadn’t acknowledged his ownership of for almost a decade. He only declared he owns the 32 acres after his party colleague Robert Troy resigned his junior ministry.
Cowen’s late mother Mary previously owned the 32-acre parcel of land. Cowen has been the registered owner since 2003 but failed to declare ownership of it in his Dáil returns since 2014.
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- 01 Jun 23