It's not about drink, it's about not doing the job
Cowen's position is now untenable, and the country needs Brian Lenihan to step in to the role of Taoiseach, writes Brendan O'Connor
THE first thing we should admit is that this is not about drink. If we can all admit that, maybe we could move on. Making it about drink is not helpful for a number of reasons.
Firstly, making it about drink means that Brian Cowen will not go now. If we make this about drink and he goes now, then he would be going because he was called a drunk, and he's not going to do that. He will wait instead and go after an election or a by-election, which would mean he could say he is going because the Irish people weren't willing to accept the measures his government had to take in order to get the economy back on track. That would be a more respectable way to go: the issue would be the people's ingratitude and not Cowen's drinking.
Also, if we make this about drink, it is going to make everyone uncomfortable. Because as much as we thought the Taoiseach's performance the other day was unacceptable, most of us who drink, and most of us do, have this little niggle at the back of our heads. We have all turned up to work at some stage in no fit condition to do our job -- whether it was that we were still drunk, or hungover, or perhaps in that borderline territory where you were drinking late, haven't slept much but are still a bit high and insouciant because the hangover hasn't kicked in yet. And so we are reluctant to throw the first stone on the drinking thing. It seems a bit unfair.