“the Taoiseach regrets any offence caused..”

Taoiseach Brian Cowen has apologised for the use of the word “fuckers” in the Dáil today. He wasn’t speaking on record, it was in a side conversation with Tánaiste Mary Coughlan.. although the Dáil microphones still picked it up. But RTÉ need to listen to the recording again because their quote isn’t accurate. Admittedly the version played on RTÉ Radio News at One may not be clear.. [near end of Realplayer file] but the version at the Irish Times is.

However, a Government spokesman insisted Mr Cowen was not referring to Fine Gael. “The Taoiseach did not refer to any member of the House,” said the spokesman. “It should be clear that the Taoiseach’s remarks were not read into the Dáil record. This was a casual exchange between working colleagues which was inadvertently and partially picked up by the Dáil microphones. In this context, the Taoiseach regrets any offence caused by the word complained of.”

According to the RTÉ report

RTÉ News understands that what the Taoiseach said to Ms Coughlan was: ‘We need to get a handle on this, will you ring those f***ers.’

What he was actually recorded saying to Tánaiste Mary Coughlan was [at 2mins 27s into this audio clip]

“Ring those people and get a handle on it, would you. You know those fuckers.”