Cowen crunched as Ryan doesn’t pull his punches

WHETHER you’re a Tubridy fan or a Tubridy hater, there’s little doubting that RTÉ’s golden boy last night landed a swift punch at detractors who questioned his capacity to really give Taoiseach Brian Cowen a grilling.

Undeniably nervous when he walked out onto the all-new set, Tubridy looked “all grown-ed up” with a navy tie and suit that was more IFSC executive than the colourful laid-back Lounge Lizard persona that he is keen to promote.

There was a cringeworthy moment where he thanked the two former Late Late Show presenters and then when he started doing those over-the-top hand gestures, it was just all too Tubridy Tonight.

However, he then seemed to visibly exhale — something that couldn’t be really be said about the Taoiseach, over the next 15 minutes.

Ryan’s Fianna Fáil heritage is common knowledge and many expected Barry and Chris Andrews’ cousin to sit back with the party leader and swap anecdotes on the west of Ireland as a holiday spot and maybe talk wistfully of their alma mater, UCD.

But no, there was a passing reference to the Taoiseach’s family holiday in Ballyconeelly and then Tubridy went straight for it: the people of Ireland wanted a 100% apology for the mess the country was in, they didn’t trust this NAMA business and how could he stand over the obscene expenses culture that exists in Dáil Eireann.

Cowen took a gulp of water. Cowen leaned forward. Cowen leaned back. Cowen looked uncomfortable and like he wanted to unbutton his jacket. Cowen licked his lips and Cowen took another gulp of water. Cowen looked like he was breaking into a sweat.

Tubridy pushed him to take responsibility for his failings and lack of foresight when Finance Minister, despite warnings from baying economists. “I take my responsibility seriously… The crisis came upon us quickly… No one could have seen it coming…” before he eventually said, “We should have taxed housing more than we did.”

One couldn’t help but feel a smidgen of pity for the Taoiseach as his popularity crashed further.

A desperate Fianna Fáil want the Offaly man to become presidential and statesman, to inspire a defeated nation. It’s clear that he was trying to be earnest, contrite and humble tonight. But, Biffo looked like he desperately wanted to be the bruiser. He was not in a comfortable place.


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