Saturday 17 August 2019

3 calamitous interviews that rocked Irish politics

Former Taoiseach Brian Cowen. Picture: Arthur Carron
Former Taoiseach Brian Cowen. Picture: Arthur Carron Newsdesk Newsdesk

September 2010 - Brian Cowen and "gargle gate"

Embattled Taoiseach Brian Cowen celebrated into the early morning in Galway at a Fianna Fáil think-in. Next morning he sounded wheezy, groggy, muzzy and a bit slow during a radio interview.

Future Tánaiste Simon Coveney asserted on social media that the Taoiseach sounded "either drunk or hungover".

All hell broke loose and the story from recession-stricken Ireland went around the world.

September 2001 - Joe Jacob, nukes and iodine

Junior minister Joe Jacob became a household name for all the wrong reasons after an excruciating radio interview with Marian Finucane. He said Ireland could deal with nuclear fallout or other emergencies.

The more Ms Finucane asked, the fewer answers Mr Jacob had.

Joe Jacob. Photo: Jim O'Kelly
Joe Jacob. Photo: Jim O'Kelly

Finally, he assured everybody there would be iodine tablets for everyone to save them from nuclear fallout.

January 1999 - Pádraig Flynn's "death by 'Late Late Show'"

EU Commissioner Pádraig Flynn bemoaned the hardship of paying three housekeepers on a take-home salary of IR£100,000 per year. Then he provoked businessman Tom Gilmartin into reversing his original decision to boycott the Planning Tribunal investigating donations to politicians including Mr Flynn. The 'Late Late Show' performance caused fallout in Irish politics over two decades and eventually led to the resignation of Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in 2008.

Pádraig Flynn. Photo: Colin O'Riordan
Pádraig Flynn. Photo: Colin O'Riordan

Irish Independent

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