Cowen drinking episode is much a-do about nothing.


Much noise has been made in the Irish press over the past couple of days about Brian Cowen and the allegedly drunken interview which he gave yesterday morning after what must have been a fantastic night out at the Fianna Fail conference in Galway.

There are already many versions of what happened, that night, and the back and forth between Fianna Fail and the Opposition parties would put a game of tennis at Wimbledon to shame, but I think that without doubt too much is being made out of it.

For me, it's clear as daylight that Cowen was a little tipsy when he took the mic on that morning. We've all had a few too many at least once in our lies, and that morning after slur is something we're probably all too familiar with. It's not to be confused with 'exhaustion' which at least in my mind doesn't cause the sort of drawl with which Cowen addressed the nation, though his followers are trying to make out as such.

That aside, though, is it really such a big deal if Cowen did have a few units of drink left to metabolize in his system when he took air? Politics and drinking are close and kindred friends, and can we not forgive a man once in his life for making such a slight misdemeanour. As our publisher Niall O'Dowd wrote in another blog post for this site - though not in these exact words - there was an element of McCarthyism about the way in which the media and the Opposition pounced on this interview to insinuate that Cowen had a drinking problem.

Whatever about the stupidity of getting on national radio in an either exhausted or drunken state, though, surely an even bigger farce is the Justice Minister threatening to bring a defamation suit on the back of a Twitter message from Simon Coveney that 'Biffo' was somewhere between 'hungover and drunk'.

Then again though, do bear in mind that this is the same genius who concocted the plan to deter kidnappings by increasing bank fees, so perhaps we shouldn't be too surprised.

Despite my law education having extended no further than two undergraduate years at UCC, I'm aware that opinion is a defence to defamation, and let's be honest, Coveney had quite some basis for Tweeting what he did. It's therefore a bit of a joke that Ahern should be riling for a defamation suit, and a bit too reminiscent of a time when you couldn't even criticize the government to begin with.

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