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Cowen apologises for radio interview

The Taoiseach says that he never intended to disrespect the Irish people.

TAOISEACH BRIAN COWEN has apologised for his performance on a morning radio interview on Tuesday, which sparked criticism in the global media.

Speaking on RTÉ News, Cowen said: “I want to make it very clear that I had no intention whatsoever of showing any disrespect to the people of Ireland”.

He admitted that it wasn’t his “best interview” ever, and said that the “tone was not good because of the hoarseness in my voice”.

He added: “I’m sorry it emerged in the quality that it did, I never intended to show any disrespect or casualness.”

When asked about his feelings towards Simon Coveney, who sent a tweet accusing Cowen of being “drunk or hungover” while on air, the Taoiseach replied: “There is no basis for the assertion made by political opponents… I’ve always taken my role seriously, and I ask others to reflect of their responsibilities.”

He insisted that the suggestion were “without justification and foundation”.

Fine Gael TD Simon Coveney also spoke to RTÉ, saying: “I do accept what the Taoiseach has to say. It takes a big person to apologise”.

Coveney said he did not regret his tweet, insisting that it “reflected what a lot of people were thinking”.

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However he said that now it was time to drop the subject: “We need to get on with solving the big problems that really affect people,” he said.

Meanwhile, Labour’s Brendan Howlin took a sterner approach, saying that while it was up to people to make up their own minds about the reasons for Cowen poor performance, and it was not just a case of “one interview” that had gone wrong.

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