JUST for a few hours, Labour Party leaders were able to set aside the strains of governing the country and celebrated the 100th anniversary of their party's foundation.
All was rosy in Clonmel, Co Tipperary – the party's birthplace – where Labour members and supporters enthused about their achievements and future hopes.
Up to 300 TDs, councillors, senators and supporters gathered at the event yesterday, which was attended by all senior Labour government ministers apart from Ruairi Quinn and Pat Rabbitte, who were working elsewhere. Former leader Dick Spring gave a detailed account of how the party was founded in the turbulent early 20th Century by trade unionists who gathered for their conference in May 1912.
Tipperary TD Alan Kelly brought along an old starry plough flag, which belonged to Pat Gleeson from Templetuohy, Co Tipperary.
Mr Gleeson was at the historic meeting in 1912. He died in 1936 and the flag was draped on his coffin. Mr Kelly said it would be donated to the Irish Labour history museum.
Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore said the party founders would be proud of the movement.
"We will continue the work that they so bravely began. They would ask for nothing more – they deserve nothing less," he said.