Cowen exit not mourned

BRIAN Cowen's opponents in Laois had little sympathy for his problems in Fianna Fail this week.

BRIAN Cowen's opponents in Laois had little sympathy for his problems in Fianna Fail this week.

Fine Gael's Charlie Flanagan said he had known Brian Cowen since they were both teenagers and wished him and his family well.

"However, we need an election now because the Government has lost all authority and its Dail majority. It is absolutely essential that the people of the country have an opportunity now to re-elect a new Government," he said.

As to whether Mr Cowen delivered for Laois Offaly, Deputy Flanagan pointed to local issues.

"We have a higher than national average unemployment in Laois Offaly. We have school projects in need of attention. We have real and difficult problems with the provision of health care services so it hasn't been a great time for Laois Offaly," he said.

Sinn Fein's Cllr Brian Stanley had no sympathy for Mr Cowen.

"It's irrelevant who leads that party at this point as they are morally and politically bankrupt. Unfortunately they have also bankrupt this State financially and saddled the taxpayer with the private debts of the 'golden circle'," he said.

Labour's John Whelan, said Mr Cowen was a huge force in the constituency but his departure is not the issue.

"He could lose half his votes and still top the poll. Whether or not he contests the election will have a significant impact on the outcome in Laois Offaly. That has nothing got to do with us it is a Fianna Fail matter. What we are saying is it is no longer about Brian Cowen or the infighting in FF. It is about stable Government with a clear strategic plan to get the country back working," he said.