A TULLAMORE Town Councillor has described as 'ludicrous' comments made by former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern about Brian Cowen over the weekend.
In an article in the 'News of the World' newspaper Mr Ahern was critical of Mr Cowen's communication skills.
"We live in a 24/7 Ireland and while I don't think the Taoiseach has to be out every hour, he should be out regularly," remarked Mr Ahern.
Mr Ahern, who came out of the cupboard to announce his intention not to seek re-election to Dil Eireann, added, "The Taoiseach should be communicating the information that he has. These aren't secrets, I don't consider them State secrets. For whatever reason, the pattern that I had established stopped and he decided only to do rare ones."
He also criticised the Government for not doing 'doorstep' interviews with reporters on a daily basis. "If you ask me, my view is you're better doing it my way, but he opted not to do that."
Cllr Tony McCormack defended Mr Cowen and hit out at Mr Ahern for surrounding him-self with 'yes' men.
"The comments made in the past few days have been very unfair to say the least and what Bertie stated is absolutely ludicrous," stated Cllr McCormack.
"Bertie has obviously surrounded himself with 'yes' men who tell him only what he wants to hear as opposed to reality, the reality being what people think of Bertie. Brian Cowen will be the man to lead us into the next election and I think he's the best man for the job and when the history books are written they will be very kind to our Taoiseach," remarked Cllr McCormack.
Edenderry Cllr Noel Bourke also came out in defence of the Taoiseach. "I am very disappointed at Mr Ahern's comments. Bertie had a good innings and was there for a lot of the good times. I expected him to be more helpful instead of acting in a negative way."
"I don't place much importance on it at all," said Cllr Bourke, who said he still had the "utmost confidence" in Mr Cowen and his "great ability."
Geashill Cllr Ger Plunkett has also put his weight behind Mr Cowen saying "it's very easy to look back in hindsight" and that Mr Cowen had his "total support in endeavouring to get the country back" in running order.
Laois/Offaly Junior Minister John Moloney said he felt Mr Ahern's comments may not have been reported accurately. "I would not be critical of any colleague in public. I would like to have heard what Bertie said himself. I am not sure he was quoted properly," explained Deputy Moloney.