RTE Television

Crisis: Inside the Cowen Government

A new landmark documentary series which delves into the Cowen Government.

From start to finish, Brian Cowen's government faced unprecedented economic and political upheaval. Throughout this two-part documentary series, senior ministers from Cowen's government speak candidly about how major decisions were taken and what they thought of his leadership.

Written and narrated by political editor and author of 'Showtime' Pat Leahy, the series explores how the party that dominated Irish politics since the foundation of the State was decimated in the General Election this year.


Episode One

In episode one, Crisis: Inside the Cowen Government looks at the biggest decision that Brian Cowen's government took, the Bank Guarantee of September 2008. It appears that cabinet members believe there should have been a full and frank discussion on that fateful night.

As the government under Brian Cowen continued through 2008 and into 2009 there were those within the party who thought a general election might be the strategy to take. Brian Cowen did not take this advice and the government grew more and more unpopular.

The first episode also explains how Fianna Fáil, under Bertie Ahern, perfected its political model by turning economic success into political gain.

Episode Two

Episode two of Crisis - Inside the Cowen Government begins in September 2010 as Fianna Fáil gather in Galway for their annual Think-In.

Morning Ireland presenter Cathal MacCoille speaks for the first time about his infamous interview with Brian Cowen. He shares his thoughts on how Brian Cowen performed in that interview and what he thought of his demeanour.

Alan Ahearne, Brian Lenihan's special adviser, reveals for the first time details about Department of Finance negotiations the weekend that senior FF minsters were denying a bailout. He describes how Brian Lenihan wanted the bailout to proceed.

As the party moved towards Christmas the question of leadership was on everybody's minds. As 2011 dawned Brian Cowen decided it was time to silence his critics and called a vote of confidence in his leadership. Now for the first time members of the parliamentary party disclose the conversations they had with Brian Cowen.

Victory in the vote of confidence led to Brian Cowen attempting to reshuffle his cabinet. This move was seen by many as unnecessary and was not supported by the coalition partner, The Green Party.

Without the authority to change his cabinet, Brian Cowen resigned. It brought to an end of a political career that spanned over two decades.

Crisis - Inside The Cowen Government assess Brian Cowen's tenure as Taoiseach, his legacy and asks can Fianna Fáil resurrect itself from its worst election result?

Crisis: Inside the Cowen Government
  • RTÉ One, Monday 7 November 2011, 9.35pm
  • RTÉ One, Monday 14 November 2011, 9.35pm