Crowds gathered across Co Offaly today to give Taoiseach Brian Cowen a generous welcome home to the midlands on his first homeward trip since taking office last Wednesday.
The Taoiseach is on a whirlwind tour of his locality this weekend, taking in Edenderry, Tullamore and his native Clara today, whilst moving on to Ferbane and Birr tomorrow.
Political differences were placed to one side as local representatives from all backgrounds gathered for a Civic reception at the County Offices in Tullamore to voice their praise for the country's new leader. Fine Gael TD Olwyn Enright wished the new Taoiseach "all the best" and conceded that if "someone in Fianna Fáil has to lead the country…then she's glad its Brian Cowen".
Addressing the Civic Reception, the Taoiseach reminisced on the times of "frugality" him and fellow councillors were faced with when serving Offaly in the 1980s, and also called for greater "community responsibility" in the rapidly-changing Irish society.