The final day of the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party in Galway is marred by a row over a below par performance by Taoiseach Brian Cowen in an interview for 'Morning Ireland' on RTÉ Radio 1.
The Taoiseach Brian Cowen described criticism of his performance during the interview as "a new low in Irish politics". He described claims by the Fine Gael spokesperson for Transport Simon Coveney that he was drunk or hungover as ridiculous.
In Galway however, Mr Cowen faced a media scrum. TV3 journalist Ursula Halligan inquired
You must be aware that radio programmes and the internet are alive with the believe that you were either drunk or hungover on the 'Morning Ireland' interview.
As ministers moved to defend Mr Cowen, other opposition voices soon joined the chorus. Fine Gael spokesperson for Finance Michael Noonan expressed serious doubts about Taoiseach being able to run the government. Labour TD Róisín Shortall said she did not know what was wrong with the Taoiseach. However Fianna Fáil Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin said he had no difficulty with the interview at all, although he admitted the Taoiseach was hoarse.
Speaking at the close of the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party meeting, Mr Cowen said he had no regrets about doing the interview on ‘Morning Ireland’ and stood over the substance of what he had said. Indeed he said he intends doing more morning interviews.
An RTÉ News report by David Davin Power broadcast on 14 September 2010.