Taoiseach tackles tiny Munster fan with ease

HE kissed the blushing bride, but came a cropper with a 10-month-old Munster rugby supporter who wasn’t going to be puckered up to by anybody from Leinster.

Taoiseach Brian Cowen managed to mix business with pleasure in Cork yesterday, taking time out to attend the wedding of the daughter of Minister for Education Batt O’Keeffe.

The nation’s leader made it to the church on time to give Batt’s daughter, Patrice, a congratulatory peck on the cheek.

Then he was off to Fota House to visit the restored first floor of the majestic Georgian mansion.

Being the consummate politician he wasn’t going to shy away from a picture with a baby. But little Harry McCarthy was having none of it. In fact he looked quite alarmed when he was landed in Mr Cowen’s arms.

The Taoiseach, seeing a potential screaming fit coming on (either from himself or the child), immediately passed little Harry back to his mother, Sheena, the wife of developer Tom McCarthy.

The deftness of the pass would have made Munster centre Lifeimi Mafi jealous.

“He [Harry] went a little mad. I think it was because so many people crowded around,” Sheena said graciously.

Her husband, together with AIB, had donated a lot of art and antique furniture to the restoration project.

No doubt Harry’s six-year-old brother, Tom, won’t be as standoffish when he meets other celebrities tonight.

He’s going to be the Munster mascot for the Magners League clash with Connacht at Thomond Park.

There were plenty of gardaí on duty at Fota House, so there was zero chance of anybody hanging up pictures depicting the Offaly man in the buff.

Earlier in the day, the Taoiseach visited Abtran in Bishopstown to officially announce the creation of 250 new jobs by the company.

Abtran bosses presented him with a Rubik’s Cube.

Unravelling it might prove a great deal easier than steering the economy out of the recession.

After Fota House the Taoiseach went to the Jameson Heritage Centre, Midleton, where he was given a presentation from Iarnród Éireann officials on the new Cork-Midleton commuter railway line, which is due to open next June.

That was followed by a trip to see the newly completed railway station at Carrigtwohill.

By the time that opens the local elections will be over. Question is whether the Taoiseach will be still on track by then, or will Fianna Fáil have been derailed by the electorate?


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