Brian Cowen was born in January 1960 in Tullamore, County Offaly. He is the son of Ber Cowen, a former Fianna Fáil TD. He was educated in Roscrea and University College Dublin and qualified as a lawyer. He was elected to the Dáil Éireann in a by-election in 1984, caused by the death of his father. In 1992 he supported Albert Reynolds in his leadership bid. He was rewarded by being appointed Minister for Labour by Albert Reynolds. The following year he became Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications. In 1997 he was appointed Minister for Health by the new Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern. He replaced David Andrews as Minister for Foreign Affairs in 2000. He currently holds that position. Presently, Brian Cowen is seen as a strong contender, along with the Minister for Health Mícheál Martin, to succeed Bertie Ahern and become the seventh leader of Fianna Fáil.