Former taoiseach Brian Cowen is making progress in treatment for an illness which has seen him hospitalised since earlier this month, his brother Barry has said.
Barry Cowen, the Fianna Fáil TD for Offaly, was paying tribute on RTÉ's Liveline to Shane Lowry for his victory in the British Open and gave a brief update on his brother's condition.
Brian Cowen (59) has been receiving treatment in hospital following serious concerns for his health earlier this month.
The Cowens and the Lowrys hail from the same town of Clara, Co Offaly, and both families are close. Barry Cowen said British Open golf tournament was on in the room of the Dublin hospital where his brother is in care.
“Brian’s progress is slow but it’s progress nonetheless,” Barry Cowen said. “There might be a long road ahead, but there’s a road ahead and we’re delighted that that’s the case.”
"The golf was on in the room, no one no more than himself would love to be there. I was there with him myself 10 years ago in Baltray, " he added, in reference to Shane Lowry's victory in the Irish Open in 2009.
Brian Cowen's wife, Mary, also posted her congratulations to Mr Lowry on Facebook. "When dreams come through," she wrote. "Congratulations Shane Lowry you played a blinder and Brian watched you with such pride. A lovely nurse set it up for him so he could see it."
Barry Cowen insisted, however, that this period is “about Shane and his family and the joy he has given to us all and the country”.
He said the local community was "greatly encouraged and most thankful" for the message s of goodwill "flooding" in from around the country after Mr Lowry's triumph at the Royal Portrush Golf Club in Co Antrim.
“The weekend has given us all a great lift, because it was a fantastic achievement and we share in that the same as any member of the community here does,” he added.
“We’re hugely proud and delighted to see Shane realise his potential and are greatly encouraged to hear his family speak so lovingly obviously about him. Yesterday when he was presented with the prize, the way he immediately mentioned his parents, and his extended family for the sacrifices they made to allow him to realise his potential. That speaks volumes for him as a man and a person I know and wish him and his wife and family every success in the future.”
“It’s a huge achievement. Hard to believe…it’s great to live through it. We’d great success on the football and hurling field, as I say to people, we’re a small ball county. Great that kids like him can achieve such success.”
Mr Cowen said it is while there was “hardship and difficulties that many had in our town and towns like it in years gone by, that is not now the case”.
“There is that sort of opportunity. He’s a great leader and role model and I hope his success will be emulated by many others throughout the country in the future.”