Cowen rang Browne about crucial vote
DEPUTY John Browne took a call from embattled Taoiseach Brian Cowen on Sunday morning – to make arrangements for last night's ( Tuesday's) vote of confidence meeting at Leinster House. The Enniscorthy TD told how the call came as he prepared to head along to the Bellefield GAA complex for a Seana Gael ceremony.
The Wexford poll topper and party chairman insisted that there was no discussion of which way he might vote during the conversation. Instead, the two men concentrated on details of procedure for the gathering of the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party. They agreed the gathering should be held on a Tuesday rather than bringing members up to Dublin earlier than usual.
Perhaps the Taoiseach felt no need to canvass the support of the Wexford stalwart.
John Browne's record shows that he tends to support the man in possession. He remained loyal to Charles Haughey during several attempted heaves and then stood by his successor Albert Reynolds until the Longford leader resigned in favour of Bertie Ahern.
However, he was saying nothing this week about his intentions and indicated that he was more interested in making sure that the unprecedented meeting runs smoothly than in the outcome: 'I have to try to be fair and impartial,' he pointed out.
' The chairman does not participate in the debate.'
However, he pointed out that Cowen opponents did not muster eighteen names on a motion of no confidence.
He suggested that it was time to put the leadership issue to bed before turning full attention on the forthcoming General Election, due to be held within the next 10 weeks.