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It's exactly five years since Brian Cowen gave THAT interview on Morning Ireland

Was he drunk or hungover?

Screen Shot 2015-09-14 at 14.02.26 Brian Cowen speaks to reporters on the day of his infamous Morning Ireland interview

AS FIANNA FÁIL gathers for its annual think-in today, some in the party may remember that on this day five years ago then party leader and Taoiseach Brian Cowen gave a memorable interview to Morning Ireland.

Memorable for all the wrong reasons.

Cowen was accused of being either drunk or hangover during a set-piece interview with Cathal MacCoille on RTÉ’s flagship morning radio programme.

Source: nakedtaoiseach/YouTube

Sounding hoarse and under the weather, the Laois-Offaly TD briefly confused the Croke Park Agreement with the Good Friday Agreement among other slips.

His performance was roundly criticised by opposition politicians including Fine Gael’s Simon Coveney whose tweet sparked much of the debate in the hours that followed the interview.

Cowen’s performance has gone down in Irish political folklore and served as a warning for any party leader not to indulge the night before a big early morning interview.

The former taoiseach has always denied that he was either drunk or hungover on air but that hasn’t stopped stories emerging from the night in question. He did later apologise for his performance.

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Here’s the RTÉ report from the dramatic events of 14 September 2010:


Ever since that late night at the Ardilaun Hotel in Galway, party think-ins have been far more sedate affairs, particularly in Fianna Fáil’s case given it is now a much smaller parliamentary party.

While there might be a late night for some in Sutton this evening, it’s safe to assume that Micheál Martin will not be among them if he has to go on the radio tomorrow.

2010: Cowen denies being hungover on morning radio interview

2010: “It’s well known that the Taoiseach suffers from congestion sometimes”

2010: Cowengate: round-up of world coverage

2010: Cowen apologises for radio interview

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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