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Taoiseach to discuss quitting politics with his family

Taoiseach Brian Cowen appears on the verge of quitting national politics, though he said yesterday he will not make a final decision until he has talked things over with his wife Mary this weekend.

"You've got to consider your own family perspective as well and what's the best thing all around, at this point," Mr Cowen said yesterday in Tullamore.

"Genuinely having those discussions, people who know me in this area, know how much I work with and engage with those party officers who are so important to me, whose opinions I respect and they also know that I have to make a decision in the context of what my family feels as well. I will make my decision in good time.

"Family is important to me, it's important to all of us and you have to take cognisance of their views when you come to these sort of decisions. For me, it's really a question of listening to the people I need to listen to, I need to talk to."

Mr Cowen said that activists urged him to stay at two meetings in Laois and Offaly.

"But they have also said very clearly they want to give me time and space to come to a decision and they will respect that decision whatever it is. I'll use the remainder of this weekend to finalise discussions and, believe it or not, I haven't yet had the chance to sit down with the most important person.

"I need to discuss this with my colleagues in the organisation and my own family this weekend.

"I have engagements in the constituency today, I'm here at the Comhairle na nOg meeting young people of the future and I'm delighted to come and give them encouragement and support . . . and tonight I'll be meeting with colleagues and confiding with friends," he said.

"I have to come to a decision in the best interest of everybody in the party and the country.

"Whatever I do now and in the future, inside or outside politics, nothing will ever surpass that privilege, the opportunity to lead my country," he added.

The Taoiseach's brother, Barry, has not ruled out running in the Laois/Offaly constituency if the Taoiseach decides not to contest the upcoming election.

Sunday Independent