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Cowen celebrated FF election victory with late-night pub singalong... On emigration

TAOISEACH Brian Cowen took part in a late-night sing-song about emigration after securing two Fianna Fail seats in his home constituency.

In scenes reminiscent of the infamous 'Garglegate', Mr Cowen entertained a selection of faithful supporters into the early hours of Tuesday morning.

The party took place after his brother Barry was elected to the Dail and was also attended by former junior minister John Maloney who lost his seat.

The Herald understands that the outgoing Taoiseach sang a Paul Brady classic about leaving loved ones to emigrate for the United States.

"It was a real talent show, part celebration, part lament," said a source.

The song Mr Cowen sang -- Paddy's Green Shamrock Shore -- includes the line: "And twice farewell to my comrades brave that dwell on that sainted ground."

The lively session took place at a pub in Tullamore after the Laois/Offaly count finished around 1am on Tuesday morning and continued for several hours.

Sources told the Herald that junior minister John Moloney sang the famous ballad Boolavogue which commemorates the Irish rebellion of 1798.

Mr Moloney got over 5,500 first preference votes but was unable to retain a third seat for Fianna Fail in the constituency.

Barry Cowen also sang, as did a number of local Fianna Fail councillors.

"All in all, it was a real talent show," said the source, who noted that there was even a local man playing the role of MC.

"Brian was the only one to sing without a mic. He was brilliant. A class act."

Mr Cowen has scheduled a series of local engagements for his final few days as Taoiseach. Last night he officially opened the Midlands Regional Hospital in Tullamore despite the fact that it actually opened its doors four years ago. And today he was cutting the ribbon on new secondary schools in Banagher and Ferbane.

hnews@herald.ie