CONTRASTING reactions have emerged from Brian Cowen's constituency colleagues following his resignation as Fianna Fail leader.
While close ally and friend Minister John Moloney believed the Taoiseach would be a loss as leader, Deputy Sean Fleming believes the Taoiseach did the right thing by resigning.
Minister of State Moloney lamented Brian Cowen's decision to stand down has Fianna Fail's leader this week. "If course I would have prefered if he had led us into the next election. Its a huge miss," he said.
The Mountmellick TD said that "on the ground" Brian Cowen's leadership would have been no greater an issue to voters than the policies pursued by the Government. He praised the Taoiseach for his "his honesty and integrity as a political leader".
The junior Minister said other party leaders got other party leaders to do do their bidding or break bad news. He said he never used PR to promote his image. Minister Moloney said Mr Cowen was often wrongly seen as laying down the law when he was just being "honest and direct".
Minister Moloney said his leader did not hang on to power for the sake of it. He said Mr Cowen's decision to allow TDs a secret vote in the recent leadership challenged was also a sign of integrity.
Deputy Sean Fleming said that the Taoiseach did the "right thing" by resigning as FF leader.
Deputy Fleming agreed that his former party leader had taken tough decisions in hard economic times and had paid a "major personal price" for this and for the unpopularity of the Government". The TD said he agreed and respected Mr Cowen's decision.
"He did do the right thing in standing down because the logic of me saying he did the wrong thing would be me contradicting his decision," said Deputy Fleming.
Dep Fleming said Mr Cowen had made his own mind up for the good of the party.
"He decided in the peace and calm of his own house that the ongoing difficulties facing the FF party were going to continue and the best thing in the interest of the party was to stand aside," he said.
Dep Fleming supported the Taoiseach in the initial heave mounted by Micheal Martin TD. He traced the Taoiseach's difficulties back to last November.
"In hindsight the day the Green Party announced last November that they were pulling out in the New Year ended the life of the Government. It's been on life support ever since," he said.
Dep Fleming said he would not be affected greatly if Mr Cowen decided to quit politics since he did not depend on the Taoiseach's Offaly votes to get elected.
"Of all the TDs in the constituency of all parties I'm the TD that is specifically a Laois TD," he said.