Belfast Telegraph

Cowen makes vow after radio row

Taoiseach Brian Cowen has vowed to be more careful about his social life after a live radio interview sparked controversy over his leadership.

As the fall-out over the broadcast entered its fourth day, Mr Cowen said he has learned lessons from the incident and will leave social events earlier in future.

The Taoiseach also said he was sorry if any hurt was caused by his impersonation of Irish golfer Philip Walton during his Fianna Fail party's "think-in" in Galway.

The Ryder Cup winner wrote to Mr Cowen seeking an explanation of why he was mimicked during a now notorious get-together in the hotel bar, hours before the controversial broadcast.

"It's important when you are Taoiseach (that) the dignity of the office is upheld at all times and I would hate for anyone to think I wouldn't take that aspect of my job seriously," he said.

"Such is the atmosphere of politics today, in the way people interpret things and how things can go off on a tangent very quickly, I'll be a bit more cautious in terms of that aspect of how I conduct my social life."

He said there was a balance to be struck between being himself and upholding his public duties and responsibilities.

Mr Cowen was accused by a senior Opposition spokesman of sounding halfway between drunk and hungover on a Tuesday morning interview on Ireland's most listened-to radio programme, RTE's Morning Ireland.

It later emerged he had been enjoying a late-night session until 3.30am that morning in The Blazers bar at the Ardilaun Hotel in Galway after the first night of his party's two-day get-together.

Earlier, Environment Minister and leader of the junior coalition partner Green Party John Gormley said Mr Cowen was having an "off day" when he was interviewed at 8.50am on Tuesday morning.

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