Barry Cowen recently had cause to regret the day in 2016 when he drove home after the All-Ireland having had a couple of drinks earlier. The event rose up to haunt him following his recent and short-lived promotion to cabinet.
That episode provoked an outbreak of tut-tutting. But he's not the first politician to hit the rocks over booze. And boozy stories have long been a source of diversion for the Irish public.
If you look at the plays of the national theatrical canon and consider them as a manifestation of the Irish subconscious, they reveal a lot about the nation and drink. We have a complicated relationship with it.
Since the Revival, the Irish stage has hosted brilliant booze-propelled scenes by Seán O'Casey and John Millington Synge among others. In this period, drunkards are romanticised more often than not. The boozy antics of Captain Boyle in Juno and the Paycock have a spectacular heroism. Juno is, of course, the moral centre of the play, but its glorious core is the captain, with his delusions of grandeur and his comic double-act with booze-buddy Joxer. Juno may be right, but the captain is right entertaining.
The creations of the writers who emerged in the 1960s were sometimes spectacular drinkers; in these plays, drink-induced insights are a way of stumbling upon truths. Characters often cannot identify truth, let alone face it, without booze. Drinking has a heroic edge and the craythur is often a key to comedy.
Consider Tom Murphy's boozy men in Conversations on a Homecoming or A Whistle in the Dark. Brian Friel created one of the most touching drinkers of all time in Hugh O'Donnell, the schoolmaster in Translations, grasping at his dignity as he simultaneously grasps the poteen from Anna na mBreag's shebeen.
The generation of playwrights that came up in the 1990s produced work containing a fair serving of booze too, but the fun has evaporated somewhat. Marina Carr's Portia Coughlan is tucking into the brandy bottle at 10am during the opening scene of that eponymous play but is clearly using booze as a method of dulling psychic pain - no craic here.
Conor McPherson's sad undertaker John Plunkett in Dublin Carol exposes the pathetic wreckage of an alcoholic's wasted life; McPherson himself had a much-publicised problem with booze.
Plays by writers who have emerged in the last couple of decades are noticeably drier. There is more focus on the misuse of drugs; Emmet Kirwan's Dublin Oldschool and Heroin by Grace Dyas being examples. Deirdre Kinahan's Hue and Cry features a recovering addict on methadone. Drugs are treated much more seriously and are not subject to the romantic doublethink that surrounds drink. The plays of these newer writers don't depend as much on drink to have a good time: it is as if Irish theatre is in a recovery programme.
However, where there is recovery, there is often relapse. Last January saw the production of emerging writer John O'Donovan's new play Flights at the Project and we were back in the land of the loquacious Irish boozer. The play requires "several slabs of lager and cider" which get imbibed and trashed by the three characters during the show - quite the stage manager's headache. And a headache for the characters the following morning, if they were real.
While we deride drink and drunkenness, Irish theatre has relied on its charms often enough. There is a proverb from the pen of the great English poet William Blake: "The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom." This sounds like an excuse to go to the pub. It also sounds like the guiding light of many Irish plays.