FF Chief Whip Calls On Barman To Withdraw Pints

Cowen – overserved

Government Chief Whip John Curran has called on Brendain the barman at the Ardilaun Hotel, Galway to unserve “irresponsible” pints of stout and shorts fed to the acting Taoiseach in the brief hours before his controversial radio interview yesterday.

Mr Cowen yesterday claimed that Irish politics had reached a “real new low” after the junior member of the hotel’s corporate hospitality team served him a quantity of alcohol so large that he subsequently “sounded half way between drunk and hung-over” in the Morning Ireland interview.

Speaking at a press conference that concluded Fianna Fáil’s two-day parliamentary party conference in Galway, the Taoiseach denied the claim and blamed his below-par radio performance on a “thirst in his throat”. He said he stood over the “substance” of what he had to say in the interview and added “I was not drunk or hungover – I was over-served eh, going round in circles”

Mr Cowen was interviewed by RTÉ at 8.50am yesterday. He had been up until after 3am the previous night at the Fianna Fáil party dinner at the Ardilaun Hotel.

The story was picked up by news bodies across the world.

Speaking on his way into a Cabinet meeting at Government Buildings this morning, Mr Curran called on Brendain the barman to retract his pints, claiming they were unhelpful.

Brendain’s till roll read: “Table 5, Guinness x 36; Powers (no ice) x 18; WKD x 49; Jagermeister x 32; Red Bull x 0”

A clearly-annoyed Taoiseach told a Fianna Fail press conference yesterday afternoon Brendain’s determination to serve drink was “very unfortunate”.

“Brendain is a person for whom I had formed immediate respect as a barman and as an easy conduit for getting me bladdered,” Mr Cowen said. “I think it is an appalling and unfounded situation that he alone has caused. I dealt with the interview …, as I always would, and gave full and frank answers to the best of my ability. As I said, I have a thirst in my throat which I apologise for.”

Brendain’s pint delivering was “obviously politically motivated and orchestrated” and was “pathetic and pitiful”,” he said. “I’m very sorry that Brendain would resort to that sort of petty personality-type serving of gargle which I find disgraceful.”

The junior barman stood by his till reciepts in a number of interviews yesterday and rejected suggestions they were politically motivated. “I was put on Table 5 by Mairead who does the roster. I was only doing my job. If a walking liver with someone else’s Visa card comes in, what else am I supposed to do?” he told RTÉ Radio’s News At One.

He later served someone else in the bar saying “Seems like peddling booze to the Taoiseach is now being described as a new low in politics” .

The pints were picked up and lowered by the Acting Taoiseach and the story was picked up by several news organisations around the globe. The BBC, New York Times, Washington Post, New York Daily News, Fox News, MSNBC and Spain’s ABC all reported the Taoiseach’s denial of being drunk or hungover but only the national broadcaster believed him.

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