The video: Brian Cowen, the embattled prime minister of the Irish Republic, has been accused of conducting a radio interview while intoxicated. The Taoiseach, as he is known in Ireland, seems to slur his speech during the conversation on Ireland's RTE network and, according to some critics, manages only "vague, semi-coherent answers." Cowen describes the allegations as "ridiculous," even as rival politicians line up to call his leadership into question. The Irish Times has reported that Cowen was "out way past his bedtime drinking pints" and singing songs at a political function the night before. With voters already angry at Cowen's handling of the country's financial crisis, will "Gargle-gate" undo his premiership?
The reaction: "Brian Cowen has let himself and the country down," says Andrew Lynch at the Evening Herald. "Knocking back pints" just hours before a nationally-broadcast interview isn't just unprofessional, it's unforgivable. Give the guy a break, says Niall O'Dowd at Irish Central. Cowen has been "slammed with the kind of economic misfortune that makes Barack Obama's situation look like a tempest in a teapot." Who can blame him for having a few drinks every now and again? Listen to part of Cowen's interview here: