Cowen Calls Drunk Accusations 'New Low'

Brian Cowen has labeled accusations from the Opposition that he was drunk during an interview a "new low for Irish politics".

The Taoiseach's now notorious interview on RTÉ's morning Ireland programme yesterday, has further strained his embattled Government, while opposition members, radio callers and internet users questioned his leadership because of the performance.

During the interview, which took place the morning after Fianna Fail's party "think in", Mr Cowen was audibly hoarse and slurring words, prompting the interviewer to ask if he was drunk, live on air.

The Irish Independent has this morning published a report of the night before the interview, detailing events at the party's gathering in the Ardilaun Hotel.

Mr Cowen was reported to be drinking, telling stories and singing along with party colleagues until after 3am. His interview was scheduled for 8.45 the next morning.

The story has been published across the world, being picked up by the BBC, the New York Times, Washington Post , New York Daily News , Fox News, MSNBC and Spain’s ABC.

Following the interview, Fine Gael's transport spokesman Simon Coveney suggested that the Taoiseach sounded “sounded half way between drunk and hung-over” in the RTÉ radio interview.

However, Mr Cowen has tried hard to rubbish the claims saying the insinuations were “real new low” for Irish politics.

Mr Cowen blamed sub-par performance on “a hoarseness in my throat”.

Also coming to his defence, Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin said: “The Taoiseach was very hoarse during the interview, that was very self-evident and very clear. It seems to me that that’s what the issue now seems to be about, that the Taoiseach was hoarse."

Mr Martin also played down the reports of late night revelry, saying: “These occasions, there is always a social dimension to them, nothing more than that. Are you seriously suggesting that any person can’t have a drink of an evening-time after a full day’s conference?”


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