After a few days of enforced ‘offline time’ back in Waterford a.k.a the land of no broadband or mobile phone signal, it’s great to be back in Dublin today. Particularly as a PR drama is unfolding before our eyes.
Brian Cowen has been accused of being hungover on RTE Radio One’s Morning Ireland this morning. The Taoiseach was on the show at 8.50am to discuss the country’s financial woes and the feedback from the Fianna Fáil party think-in which is currently taking place in Galway.
Cowen has never been noted as a master orator. He’s avoided addressing the nation on the topic of the financial crisis. Despite heavy media training (I’d imagine) Cowen struggles to make a connection and to engage with his audience.
A ‘hoarse’ Cowen mistakenly referred to the Croke Park agreement (Public Sector employment deal) as the Good Friday agreement (relating to the Northern Ireland peace process) during the interview this morning – slip of the tongue or the effects of a night on the tiles.
Within minutes of the interview Twitter was alight with critisms of Cowen. Fine Gael’s Simon Coveney was eager to shove Cowen under the on-coming media train. He tweeted that the Taoiseach sounded “half way between drunk and hungover and totally disinterested” on the radio show.
Fine Gael finance spokesman, Michael Noonan said on the Pat Kenny show that Cowen “certainly was a man who was coming at the interview after a very late night.”
Labour have also got in their blows. Roisin Shorthall said the interview raised “serious alarm bells” and said the interview was “one of the most inept and unconvincing ever given by a Taoiseach in the history of the State”.
TV3′s Ursula Hannigan, who is never short of a few words, asked Cowen directly if he was “either drunk or hungover” during the interview. He responded:
“Absolutely not. That’s ridiculous. It’s not true at all.”
Listening to the interview I have to be honest – the Taoiseach sounded to me as he always does…gruff and mumbling with a thick Offaly accent. What do you thinK? In fact if you want to listen to the 2009 interview during the Party think-in, you see it was just as bad.