Sunday 21 January 2018

My drinking has 'greatly diminished' since Garglegate -- Cowen

Fionnan Sheahan

HE got in trouble for drinking and singing songs into the early hours at the celebrated Fianna Fail 'drink-in' in the Ardilaun Hotel in Galway.

But two months on from 'Garglegate', Taoiseach Brian Cowen admitted his socialising has been "greatly diminished" because he is so busy ahead of the Budget.

Mr Cowen told the Irish Independent he fully realises he is under the spotlight more than ever following his infamous 'congestion' on RTE's 'Morning Ireland' interview.

The incident nearly brought his term as Fianna Fail leader to an end and has damaged his leadership.

Mr Cowen vows the Ardilaun Hotel affair won't be repeated, but the accusation from Fine Gael's Simon Coveney that he was hungover on live radio still rankles.

When asked how his lifestyle has changed and asked directly if he drinks less since the controversial incident, he said he was more conscious about the scrutiny of his social life.

"Well, I suppose it just makes me more aware of that. And then I obviously am working hard and I can assure you the amount of material I am getting to deal with means my occasions for any sort of socialising is greatly diminished," he said.

"I'm just more conscious of that now. I said it won't happen again and it won't. Not that yer man (Mr Coveney) was right in what he said," he added.

A clearly chastened Mr Cowen said he has put the incident behind him and was apologetic that it happened.

"I'm just getting on with the job and, obviously, I was very apologetic for whatever way people saw it.

"But I was also very annoyed, as you know, at the suggestion from the opposition deputy concerned, that it wasn't correct, in fact, what he had to say.

"But, you know, I was back in Galway two weeks later and down at the launch of a book for a friend and I was delighted to be back in Galway," he said.

"I don't dwell on these things. I move on.

"And as I say, I would never do anything to try and denigrate or diminish the office that I hold and I'd be very conscious of that," he added.

Irish Independent

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