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Cowen enjoys the simple life on Connemara break

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Taoiseach Brian Cowen during his round at Connemara Golf Club in Ballyconneely

Taoiseach Brian Cowen during his round at Connemara Golf Club in Ballyconneely

Taoiseach Brian Cowen during his round at Connemara Golf Club in Ballyconneely

While his ministers have been sunning themselves in far more exotic climes, Brian Cowen has opted for the simple pleasures of Connemara for his first summer holiday as Taoiseach.

Mr Cowen has been taking in the brisk Ballyconneely air where he has a holiday home, virtually next door to Connemara Golf links.

Yesterday, he enjoyed a quiet game of golf in the company of close party colleague and Galway West Deputy Frank Fahey. Afterwards, he enjoyed a drink in the clubhouse with his golfing partners and regular Ballyconneely visitor, former Minister Mark Killilea.

Wearing a blue golf sweater and looking tanned, he sauntered out of the golf club and readily agreed to interrupt his summer break to be pictured by photographer Andrew Downes close to the first tee.

A relaxed Taoiseach was afterwards collected by his wife Mary and daughters Sinead and Maedhbh at the golf club before heading off to dinner.

Mr Cowen arrived in the West last week and took in a day at the Galway Races before basing himself in Ballyconneely.

Earlier this week he enjoyed a meal with family and friends at Moran's famous Oyster Bar and Restaurant in Kilcolgan where he happily posed for photographs with customers.

Mr Cowen also interrupted his holiday yesterday to send best wishes to the Irish team competing at the Beijing Olympics.

Speaking to the Irish Independent last night he refused to be drawn on whether he would intervene in the collapsed pay talks.

"As I said in my statement at the time I believe it is important to allow time to reflect on the relative merits of having a centralised agreement," he said.

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