Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen has said that his drinking has been “greatly diminished.”

Two months after getting in trouble for his drinking and singing into the early hours at the Fianna Fail ‘drink in’ at the Ardilaun Hotel and Galway and accusations from Fine Gael’s Simon Coveney that he was hung over on an RTE’s ‘Morning Ireland’ interview, Cowen told the Irish Independent he realizes he is in the spotlight more than ever and is more conscious of the scrutiny he is under.

"Well, I suppose it just makes me more aware of that. And then I obviously am working hard and I can assure you the amount of material I am getting to deal with means my occasions for any sort of socialising is greatly diminished," said Cowen.

"I'm just more conscious of that now. I said it won't happen again and it won't. Not that yer man (Mr Coveney) was right in what he said.”

Cowen said that he has put the matter behind him.

"I'm just getting on with the job and, obviously, I was very apologetic for whatever way people saw it.

"But I was also very annoyed, as you know, at the suggestion from the opposition deputy concerned, that it wasn't correct, in fact, what he had to say.

"But, you know, I was back in Galway two weeks later and down at the launch of a book for a friend and I was delighted to be back in Galway," he said.
"I don't dwell on these things. I move on.

"And as I say, I would never do anything to try and denigrate or diminish the office that I hold and I'd be very conscious of that.”