not a member? click here to sign up
Barman on 2010 Brian Cowen 'booze' scandal
Ivan Murray served booze to a number of Fianna Fáil TDs on that fateful night...
The Hot Press Newsdesk, 24 Aug 2012
In the new issue of Hot Press, Ivan Murray recalls the night of September 13, 2010, where he was working behind the bar at a Fianna Fáil shindig in the Ardilaun Hotel.
The following morning, the then Taoiseach Brian Cowen was interviewed on RTÉ Radio's Morning Ireland, and appeared to slur his words, prompting accusations that he was either drunk, or in the throes of a nasty hangover.
Murray recalls: "Taking my place behind the bar, I was immediately tasked with serving a group of seven or eight TD’s who were calling rounds of porter to beat the band. Already the bar tab was growing in scale and I wondered who was footing the bill.
He continues; "We were instructed to keep the tab running until our esteemed friends departed for a slap-up dinner across the way... We were also instructed not to mention to any outsiders that there was even a tab at all. I wondered why? Surely that wouldn’t need to be hidden from the public at large.
"By the time the assembled throng were called for dinner, as the one who was dishing out the drink, I’d estimate that our glorious leader had sunk something in the region of seven or eight pints of stout and a few gin and tonics... I was told to close off the bar tab before going to the function room to assist in the dinner service. A healthy figure it was too, somewhere in the region of €3,000."
With regards to Cowen's radio interview the next morning, Murray comments; "Was he drunk? Well, all I can say is that if I had consumed as much as the man, and indeed numerous others who were there, then I’d certainly still have been feeling the effects – in a big way. In fact, I don’t think there’s any possibility that I could have hauled myself in front of a mike to even attempt to speak: I’d have been in the pits of a deep and terrible sleep or trembling in agony over the toilet bowl."
Read Ivan's full account of the night in the new issue of Hot Press (Robert Smith cover) out now.