Republic of Ireland news

Former Taoiseach Brian Cowen in intensive care

Former Taoiseach Brian Cowen is believed to be in intensive care after falling ill on Thursday night. Picture by Niall Carson, Press Association

FORMER Taoiseach Brian Cowen is being treated in a Dublin hospital after falling ill on Thursday night.

It is understood that the former Fianna Fáil leader is in intensive care in a private hospital.

Mr Cowen is believed to have suffered ill health in recent months.

His brother Barry, who is the sitting Fianna Fáil TD in Offaly, is understood to have travelled to Dublin with other family members.

Cowen was first elected as a TD for Laois/Offaly in 1984 following the death of his father.

He served as a TD until his retirement in 2011.

He was taoiseach from May 2008 to March 2011, during the collapse of the Irish economy and the implementation of austerity policies as part of the EU bailout programme.

Speaking to reporters yesterday, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he hoped Mr Cowen will make a swift recovery.

"I only heard in the last few hours, so I don't know any details, but I served in the Dáil with Brian Cowen for a number of years and I really hope if he is unwell, as I hear he is, that he makes a speedy recovery," he said.

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