Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen has apologized for his early morning radio interview in which he was accused of being either drunk or badly hungover.

“Well I'm sorry that it emerged in the quality that it did and, as I say, there was a hoarseness in my voice throughout the day yesterday.

"But it doesn't take away from the fact that it wasn't my best performance and I would like to apologise for that.

"If people were to take from it that there was any suggestion of disrespect or casualness on my part, that wasn't the case," Cowen stated on RTE's 'Six One News'.

His apology came after Foreign Minster Micheal Martin broke with the consensus in Fianna Fail and admitted that the incident was’ bad’ and “ “lessons need to be learned” from it.

Fianna Fail backbenchers are said to be livid at the Prime Minister because of the negative fall-out from the interview.

It is also believed that he will follow a different media strategy in future and will not be as readily available.

But Cowen's spokesman said the apology was not given under pressure as reports have said.

"I utterly reject the suggestion that the Taoiseach came under any pressure, direct or otherwise, from any member of the Cabinet.

"He reflected on the situation and made up his own mind as to the course of action which he took," the spokesman said.