16/09/2010

Cowen Apologises Over Interview

Taoiseach Brian Cowen has apologised for his performance during Tuesday's notorious interview for which he was accused of sounding "halfway between drunk and sober".

Mr Cowen said it "wasn't my best performance", and that he did not intend to disrespect the country or the people of Ireland.

Speaking during a televised RTÉ interview, he said he had prepared for the interview over the weekend and blamed a "confluence of events". However, the Taoiseach slammed claims by the opposition that he was drunk or hungover, saying they were "without justification, foundation and not correct or true".

Fine Gael's Simon Coveney, who initially made the claims, said he accepts the Taoiseach's apology.

Mr Cowen said: “I’ve always taken my role seriously and ensure that I perform my public duties properly.

"I would recognise there are times when if something doesn’t go well that you have to acknowledge and be truthful about it. But, as I say, the assertions that were made subsequent to it were without justification, were without foundation, were not correct, were not true. And I would hate to think that the reputation of the country, or the office of Taoiseach would in any way be affected by what I had to say.”

Yesterday, Brian Cowen labelled accusations from the Opposition that he was drunk during the interview a "new low for Irish politics".

The 8.45am interview took place the morning after Fianna Fail's party "think in" and dinner, during which members of the party including Mr Cowen were reported to be drinking and singing until 3am.

(DW)

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