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Labour Party are getting ready to go to the country (literally)

Labour Senator John Whelan was looking mighty happy on the plinth of Leinster House yesterday - a far roar from this time last year, when he lifted then-party leader Eamon Gilmore out of it for not visiting the massively-successful National Ploughing Championships in Laois.

John, who hails (surprise) from Laois, blasted the no-show by Labour bigwigs as "a huge error of judgement and an irresponsible move".

This year, much to John's satisfaction, the new party boss has not only polished her wellies, but Joan Burton has also given the go-ahead for a Labour marquee at the festival, which attracts around 180,000 people over the three days.

"Joan is coming down on Wednesday, and all the ministers are under starter's orders to turn up at some stage.

"The Dubs have been on to me looking for directions to Ratheniska," beamed the senator, delighted he won't be ploughing a lonely Labour furrow this time.

Irish Independent