Belfast Telegraph

Taoiseach: I tried to fix mistakes

Taoiseach Brian Cowen insisted he had worked hard to fix past mistakes during his farewell speech as leader of the country.

In a valedictory address to the Dail ahead of its dissolution, Mr Cowen said he always had the good of the people in mind in every decision he took.

"But I do want to simply say that while the past two and a half years since I was elected Taoiseach have been a time of great trial and test, I believe we have worked hard to correct past failures and to secure the future recovery of our country," he said.

"I know some of the decisions my government had to take were not popular. But they had to be taken."

Mr Cowen appealed to people to remember his motivation in making political decisions as well as the context in which they were taken.

"I believe politics is about serving the interests of the people first and last," he said.

"That was my motivation starting out in public life and I stayed true to it right to the end.

"In every decision I took, as Taoiseach, I can honestly say the common good was my overriding concern, and loyalty to this country and its people informed every choice I made."

The date of the general election will be formally announced later by Local Government Minister Eamon O Cuiv after Mr Cowen goes to Aras an Uachtarain to ask President Mary McAleese to officially dissolve the 30th Dail.

Mr O'Cuiv said February 25 was the most likely date.

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