Thursday 22 February 2018

The Rover returns -- and Brian finally seems in tune with his public

Eimear Ni Bhraonain

HE took a break from grabbing the microphone for almost two years, but even in a recession Taoiseach Brian Cowen can't resist a sing-song.

The last time Mr Cowen had a reason to sing in public was just before the economic crash, when he stood up in Digan's pub in Tullamore in August 2008 at the Fleadh Cheoil and belted out 'Paddy's Green Shamrock Shore'.

But yesterday on a bright and sunny morning in Clonbullogue, the Taoiseach sang 'The Offaly Rover' for a group of primary-school children.

Moments later, he was back to talking about how an immediate winding-up of Anglo Irish Bank could cost the Irish taxpayer €70bn or more, gloomy Exchequer returns and "legacy" issues with FAS.

But for a few minutes yesterday, Mr Cowen took a break from the recession.

He has said before that "one of the requirements when you get into politics is that you have to be able to sing".


And sing he certainly did. He had a captive audience in the 11 junior infants who sat in the front row of their new classroom after finishing their first week at school.

They were the ones putting on a show for the Taoiseach -- but when their teacher offered him the mic, he accepted.

Then, he was off to meet the parents and shake hands with the staff of St Patrick's NS, the local clergy, and members of the GAA club in Offaly's tidiest village.

Mr Cowen, who spent some of his long summer holidays in the west of Ireland, where he has a mobile home in the Aillebrack Caravan Park in Connemara, looked happy and relaxed as he mingled on home turf yesterday.

Afterward, it was off to his hometown of Tullamore, where he announced a €4.1m research grant to R&R Mechanical and the University of Limerick for the development of a new cooling system for power stations.

Tullamore firm R&R came out tops in a list of 61 projects submitted to the European Commission earlier this year. The company, in conjunction with UL and Stokes Institute, has come up with a new system called MACCsol, which cools solar power plants.

Irish Independent

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