Ministers back their under-fire Taoiseach after 'manly' apology
ONE of the Taoiseach's cabinet colleagues yesterday described Mr Cowen's apology over his radio interview as an "extremely manly" thing for him to do.
Enterprise Minister Batt O'Keeffe described Brian Cowen's apology as "fulsome" -- although the Oxford dictionary definition describes the word as excessive, cloying or insincere.
The dictionary also explains that is is sometimes wrongly used to mean generous.
A spokesman insisted that the minister was saying the apology was comprehensive and added that another dictionary definition for fulsome was abundant.
Mr O'Keeffe was just one of a number of ministers who yesterday rallied around the beleaguered Taoiseach after his apology over his 'Morning Ireland' interview performance earlier this week.
"I think the Taoiseach thought it was appropriate that he would make that apology," he said.
"I think he was concerned, particularly so, about the office of the Taoiseach, any insult that might be part of what he termed himself a lacklustre interview on 'Morning Ireland'. He felt he needed to apologise for that.
"Obviously Mr Cowen had been quite upset about the issue and felt that if in any way he had denigrated the office of the Taoiseach it would be appropriate for him to make that apology. I think that was an extremely manly thing for him to do. I think it was a fulsome apology. I think, significantly, that the mistake would not occur again."
Tanaiste and Education Minister Mary Coughlan insisted that Mr Cowen had the full confidence of the Cabinet and the Fianna Fail parliamentary party.
"The matter has been dealt with by the Taoiseach and we have very important business now to proceed with in preparation for the Budget and the new financial year," she said.
"The parliamentary party are fully behind the Taoiseach and we're moving on. We have pressing issues to proceed with now in preparation for the parliamentary session ahead."
Tourism Minister Mary Hanafin admitted that the 'Morning Ireland' interview had been poor and that the Taoiseach had been right to make a public apology.
"Certainly the impression we had got over the two days was that people had felt insulted by it and I know that neither he nor any of us would want to insult any listener or any member of the Irish public at a time when things are difficult for them," Ms Hanafin said.
"People spoke for themselves when they said it wasn't an interview that they felt inspired them, (or) gave them the answers they wanted and certainly the Taoiseach himself recognised that yesterday.
"I think by apologising, he was saying to the Irish people: 'I am leader of this country, I want to deal with the difficult issues that we have and I am sorry that you got an impression that was wrong'."