Brian Cowen is a former Irish politician who served as Taoiseach of Ireland from 7 May 2008 to 9 March 2011. He was head of a coalition government led by Fianna Fáil which until 23 January 2011 had the support of the Green Party and independent TDs.
Cowen was also leader of Fianna Fáil from 7 May 2008 until 22 January 2011, when he resigned under political pressure after a failed and highly controversial attempt at a cabinet reshuffle.
He was a Teachta Dála for the Laois–Offaly constituency from 1984 to 2011. He previously served as Minister for Labour, Minister for Energy, Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications, Minister for Health, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Finance and also as Tánaiste. He became leader of Fianna Fáil on the resignation of Bertie Ahern. On 7 May 2008, following the resignation of Ahern as Taoiseach, Cowen was nominated by Dáil Éireann to replace him and was appointed by the President later that day.
Cowen's administration coincided with the Irish financial and banking crises. He has received substantial criticism for his failure to stem the tide of either crisis, ultimately culminating in his government's formal request for financial rescue from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, widely seen in Ireland as a national humiliation. Cowen has brought record low levels of public support for Fianna Fáil, his government, and the Taoiseach himself. With approval at 8 percent by the time the 30th Dáil was dissolved, he was the least popular incumbent politician in the history of Irish opinion polling. "As Taoiseach," said The Sunday Times, "he has proved to be a dismal failure." In 2011, the Irish Independent called Cowen the "worst Taoiseach in the history of the State."
Our efforts to reduce inflation are working; inflation here has now converged to euro area norms. This inflation figure is well down from inflation rates of between 4 percent and 6 percent recorded between 2000 and 2002.