I figured the Irish Mail on Sunday would have a strong story this weekend, and here it is, hot off the press:
Colleagues say his heavy drinking took a ‘dark turn’ during the Fianna Fáil wilderness years between 1994 and 1997, when the party was in opposition and there was little chance of promotion and none of exercising power. ‘Boredom can be a terrible thing for somebody of his undoubted intelligence,’ said a colleague who worked with him during this period.
‘He was razor sharp and energetic but front-bench opposition work did not suit him and he fell into irreversible habits. He drank hard.’
But even when the situation changed - with Fianna Fáil swept to victory under the leadership of Bertie Ahern in June 1997 - Mr Cowen continued his heavy drinking habits.He had his pint on the bar and he sat on a stool while the other two stood. They were close enough to where we were sitting for us to overhear snatches of conversation. I went to the bar and passed between the couple and Cowen. He was slumped on the stool and seemed close to sleep.
‘As I stood next to him, I said: “How are you?” His reply was an unintelligible cross between an exhalation and a sigh, accompanied by a shaking of the head that set the jowls juddering. He seemed to me to be incapable of speech due to the amount of drink he’d taken. If he formulated a word, I couldn’t make it out.’Wednesdays are midweek ‘nights out’ as Thursday is not a Dáil day
Members of the public report seeing him slumped at hotel bar
One Budget night he went on a boozing binge into the early hours
Even as a student, he spent all his food money on ‘liquid lunch’
The dark truth of Irish Prime Minister Cowen’s drinking
They're not holding back in that article