“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.”

, , ,

  • joeCanuck

    Fer fuck’s sake, Pete. Does it matter what the fucker said?

  • Pete Baker

    With Fine Gael claiming he was referring to them, and the RTE misquote apparently completely exonerating him on that, particular, charge..

    Yes. Yes, it does matter, Joe.

  • McGrath

    Maybe the fuckers he was referring to was the Health Service Committee.

    I would say there is more of a problem with the swirling egos evidenced in the “debate” than the language used.

  • Mark McGregor

    What a big ignorant fellow from Offaly.

  • joeCanuck

    Well, Pete,
    If RTE did misquote him (deliberately), I’ll concede that it is worthy of note. But still, for all I know, they might be fuckers, all of them.

  • Perhaps he was quoting Withnail and I? One can but dream…

  • Liam

    heh, I’ve often imagined what the dail would be like if someone like David Vance was taoiseach. What happened today is fairly close to that image 😉

  • Mark McGregor


    I don’t think David will ever be Taoiseach, he had a long enough run as Minister for Justice before losing his seat and retiring.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    A swift visit to the confessional and a couple of hail Mary’s and he should be in the clear – that is provided he hasn’t had any impure thoughts as well to declare – they could push him towards a decade of the Rosary.

  • Driftwood

    How long before Boris utters such profanity?
    No big deal, Christ, surely we’ve moved on. Remember Dave Allen being banned? Good on ya Brian, look forward to gordon or david following suit. but Boris Johnson must be favourite. Surely not Peter or Martin? possibly Iris?

  • I still dont know who “those fuckers” are.

  • Dave

    “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.’”

    Oh dear… Ms Coughlan should not initiate any phone calls to organisations for the next few days lest the recipient assumes that his organisation was the target of Mr Cowen’s derogation.

  • Dave

    “Hello, this is the head office of the Sisters of Mercy.”

    “May I speak to the Mother Superior, please. It’s Ms Coughlan here, Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment. I’m calling about your grant application for your bible-binding craft enterprise.”

    *Receptionist hangs up*

  • 0b101010

    No big deal, but it does expose a lack of political polish required for the job. That said, the States has a two-term bird-flipping president and a veep that barks at fellow senators to “fuck off”, and look how successful at politicking they have been…

    This, however, is completely unacceptable:

    “”Just to bring to Deputy Reilly’s attention, I can organise (it) so that every time your man completes a sentence that I have people roaring and shouting across here if he wants . . . I can also make sure that you won’t be heard in this House,” said Mr Cowen.”

  • ladysnowblood

    Personally speaking i think everyone in the dail is a fucker.Those at westminster and stormont are fuckers too. Overpaid fuckers thats what they are.

  • ladysnowblood
    Yeh sure, the real heroes are the guys that sit on their bar stools whinging about the politicians.

  • joeCanuck

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, Ted.

  • Damien

    Ted Leddy

    “the real heroes are the guys that sit on their bar stools whinging about the politicians. ”

    Well the “guys on the bar-stools” are probably earning £12,000 to £16,000 per year minding their own business and trying to have a happy life for themselves and their families, paying taxes higher fuel, food, energy, clothing, and rates bills.
    Endless hikes in vechile costs insurance and permanent prisoners to unexplainably expensive dealer parts for mainteance.
    Add to that the yearly M.O.T, daily parking and 35mph speeding money rackets with also the dreaded water rates on the way and the threat of bin charges planned for 2010 for them DO YOU NOT THINK THEY HAVE A GOD DAMN RIGHT TO COMPLAIN YOU FRIVELOUS IDIOT.

    When the so called pliticians earn up to £70,000 a year thousands a year extra to run an office get tens of thousands a year more to staff it (in other words get money to pay someone else to do their jobs for them) can claim hundreds of pounds a day in expenses without producing a reciept can claim travel cost for going to this non working job and are also given the money to buy an extra home.
    Added to this the fact that these people jump on the gravy train for company directorships ( many holding over a dozen different directorships of companies in the private sector that were given to them as “gifts” several of theses politicians openly admitted to being silent directors in many many more. They use their position to feather the nest of themselves their families and close friends AT THE EXPENSE OF THE WORKING TAX PAYER ON THE BAR-STOOL.
    If the poorly paid taxpayer on the bar-stool has a problem and phones the police they might get to him in an hour or three yet if the overpaid under-worked gravy-train jumping muppet who would rather send a plane half way round the world to drop bombs on total strangers from 35,000 feet rather than give a heating allowance to pensioners in the winter phones the police they are there before the phone hits the reciever.


  • Damian
    I didn’t say they dont have the right to complain, of course they do have the right and the duty as you articulated so well. But I take exception to ladysnowblood’s interpretation that they are all “fuckers” whether it be in stormont, leinster house or westminster. Thats just a cop out. The politics of everyone is an idiot except me. I think politics is a noble profession where as you clearly do not. Politicians put themselves out there. They attempt to make a difference where as most are only willing to rant and rave. Its easy to do nothing and criticise those that try. Are there lazy politicians that dont care, of course. That alone does not justify contempt for the political process.

  • Greenflag

    ted leddy,

    ‘I still dont know who “those fuckers” are?.

    They’re here , there and indeed everywhere for as long as I can remember .

    I’m reminded of the Dublin District Court case when the defendant a Co Clare man was accused by the arresting Garda of using foul and abusive language in a public place .

    Judge to Garda :

    ‘And what exactly did the accused say in public that was so offensive and abusive that it warranted his arrest ?

    Garda (A newly recruited Kerryman ):

    ‘I’d rather not say your honour’

    Judge (Co Clare man ) to Garda

    You will the court what this man said or I’ll hold you in contempt ‘

    Garda :

    ‘Well ‘


    ‘Well what man ‘?

    Garda :

    ‘He called me a big Kerry fucker your honour ‘

    Judge :

    ‘And which part of this appellation do you consider to be innacurate or even abusive !!!?
    Case dismissed !

  • Greenflag

    ted leddy ,

    ‘I think politics is a noble profession’

    You might think . I’d prefer to use the word ‘necessary’ profession . The role of politician is similar to the role of the excretory organs in the human body at least in theory. Their output may sometimes smell bad in fresh air but without the process itself the body politic would die and we would all be the losers.

    ‘Politicians put themselves out there’

    Yes of course and a few do make a positive difference . Sometimes alas the difference is not just not positive but entirely ‘negative’ e.g Messrs Hitler , Stalin , Pol Pot, etc etc.

    ‘ That alone does not justify contempt for the political process. ‘

    The democratic process is more important than any individual politician . Somebody has to referee the conflicting interests between the differing classes, regions and or ethnicities in the modern state . Otherwise our societies would be at constant war both within and between States.

    some infamous political remarks

    ‘ It is not true I’m surrounded by yes-men . When I say NO everybody says NO ‘

    No not Ian Paisley as some might think -actually Josef Stalin!

    ‘When they call the roll in the Senate , the Senators do not know whether to answer ‘present’ or ‘guilty’

    Theodore Roosevelt

    ‘A politician is a fellow who will lay down your life for his country ‘

    ‘tens of millions of dead British , German , French , Russian and other soldiers in WWI and indeed in all wars ‘

  • wild turkey

    Ted Leddy

    “Authority has always attracted the lowest elements in the human race. All through history, mankind has been bullied by scum. Those who lord it over their fellows and toss commands in every direction and would boss the grass in the meadow about which way to bend in the wind are the most depraved kind of prostitutes. They will submit to any indignity, perform any vile act, do anything to achieve power. The worst off-sloughings of the planet are the ingredients of sovereignty. Every government is a parliament of whores. The trouble is, in a democracy the whores are us.”

    Patrick Jake O’Rourke

  • Greenflag

    wilde turkey,

    ‘Every government is a parliament of whores.’

    Westminster Brothel or Dail Knocking Shop take your pick 🙂

    ‘The trouble is, in a democracy the whores are us.” ‘

    Fair enough but who then are the whoremasters and pimps ?

    The fact is that once people began to settle down in groups of greater size than an extended family then some kind of ‘representative’ authority became necessary if society was to develop further . A family squabble can usually be sorted out within an extended family where everybody is related . But in any larger community of people where people are not directly related that form of ‘justice ‘ would be unworkable.

  • While one does expect some decorum in a House of Parliament, the braying that goes on in the Dail means that this was bound to happen sooner or later. Let’s not forget the profanities one of his predecessors was prone to:

    As leader of the opposition in the 1980s, Haughey gave a famously profane interview – possibly believing he was speaking off the record – to the Irish music magazine Hot Press.

    In it, Haughey cheerfully admitted a childhood desire to steal cars. He also noted, vis-à-vis his political enemies, that “I could instance a load of fuckers whose throats I’d cut and push over a cliff”.

  • Dave

    Greenflag, the problem with politics is that we have allowed it to become a career rather than a form of public service. I’d much favour the office of a TD being term-limited. That way, you’d encourage people who had experience and success outside of politics to offer a service to the nation. The problem with career hacks is that they never say or do anything that jeopardises their career – they’re just a bunch of useless sheep.

  • Getting beyond the narrow nasty, spiteful, parochialism of the six counties, here’s something for all you Europhiles. For any German speakers, please feel free to correct this. Eine grosse scheisse Dummkerl aus Offaly.

  • RepublicanStones

    I wouldn’t trust anybody who doesn’t curse. the odd ‘aul fuck here and there is the irish equivalent of a comma.
    Sure there is lots of fuckers worse…..


  • Greenflag

    Dave ,

    ‘I’d much favour the office of a TD being term-limited.’

    Sounds reasonable however in at least one democracy (USA)where there are term limits I’m afraid the standard of political service may be even worse . Given only 8 years ? to ‘loot ‘ the public purse the bastards run to the wealthiest private interest lobby groups – insurance -oil and health care companies and gorge on whatever they can. There’s been some attempt to curtail the ‘lobbies’ but no great success yet . As the curtain draws down on the ‘conservative republican administration’ a record number of Congressmen/Senators have been forced into retirement for all kinds of skullduggery from the sexual to the financial and back again .

    The more power they’re given the worse they become . The only protection is checks and balances in the system and transparent government . That way perhaps the worst excesses can be moderated .

    But there’ll never be a parliament completely devoid of non whores . It’s the human condition.

  • Greenflag


    ‘encourage people who had experience and success outside of politics to offer a service to the nation. The problem with career hacks is that they never say or do anything that jeopardises their career – they’re just a bunch of useless sheep.’

    I tend to agree . Ina small country like Ireland the ‘multi seat constituency ‘ also helps to reduce the representation of those who woould be less sheeplike in their approach to the public interest . The somewhat ‘savage’ process of getting ‘nominated’ through the party system (particularly FF) means that by the time a TD of promise is elected his first concern is to ensure that his ‘seat’ is made safe by ‘delivering the standard ‘service’ package to the ‘community ‘ which in most instances could be done by people themselves .

    We’re stuck with PR as it’s probably the only way that we can hope to have a change of Government and although an FF supporter I believe it’s very important that there is a widespread perception that the ‘Govt’ can be voted out of office . Northern Ireland never had and despite the changes doesn’t really have that possibility.

  • Gregory

    “That way, you’d encourage people who had experience and success outside of politics to offer a service to the nation. The problem with career hacks is that they never say or do anything that jeopardises their career – they’re just a bunch of useless sheep.”

    That applies in the commons, very few of them would be safe to run a bakery, brewery or post office, there are few of any real standing in another sphere.


  • joeCanuck

    The King of swearing has to be Twenty Major, with some of his courtiers coming close seconds.