What do you think? Brian Cowen may have left the political stage, but he is still causing controversy. The National University of Ireland (NUI) recently gave Cowen an honorary doctorate. The former Taoiseach accepted the award, claiming he was sorry that so many people lost their jobs, but that he was instrumental in the economic recovery.
Lots of people were not happy…
Criticism for NUI and Cowen
TOne of the harshest critics was founding president of University of Limerick Edward Walsh. Walsh said he would return his NUI honorary doctorate in protest.
He also expressed “amazement” at the decision. Walsh wrote a letter to NUI, in which he argued that:
“Ahern and Cowen inherited an Ireland which, in 2000, had full employment, was the fifth most competitive in the world and, after Luxembourg, had the lowest debt in Europe.”
“Through their inept stewardship, they brought Ireland to its knees and caused much hardship to its citizens. In other jurisdictions, such people would find themselves held to account by society and suffer consequences.”
A spokesperson for NUI states that the university had a tradition of honouring those who have held the office of Taoiseach. It is believed that NUI will award an honorary doctorate to Enda Kenny later this year.