Golf course has less holes than Biffo’s yarn

BRIAN Cowen’s story has more holes in it than the course at St Andrew’s.

But there he was again in the sand pit, hacking away in sweaty desperation and digging himself further into the mire as he did so.

And let’s hope his nine iron swing is better than his wounded swan impression — because that was just embarrassing yesterday.

By turns, his 66 minute exercise in taciturn twisting and tantrum throwing was self-pitying and snarling, but after nearly an hour he seemed to have done enough to bluster his way through the rough — but then, of all people, Sinn Féin’s Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin dragged a telling confession out of the Taoiseach as they played Guess Who Came To The Golf Dinner?

Why it just so happened, recently ex-Anglo director Fintan Drury had organised it and Anglo director Gary McGann was there too — along with disgraced Anglo boss Seanie FitzPatrick, of course. How lovely.

Mr Cowen then set the scene for what was obviously some-sort of ad-hoc economic summit: “It was about being able to sit down with people at the end of the day and having a chat about the economy.

“We’d had a mini-budget, we saw recession on the horizon and a big slowdown in the economy. As Taoiseach I was there chatting to see if there were ideas and to find out other people’s views on things and to see if things could be done which might be helpful, those people would have some views on that,” he suddenly trilled like a canary.

That’s interesting isn’t it? All those Anglo chiefs there with the Taoiseach chatting about the economy, the recession, finance, etc — but they never once mention Anglo?

Now, isn’t that just unbelievable. As in, it just cannot be believed. Cowen then slipped in the snippet that his driver was there too. Nice touch, Brian.

Bertie Ahern used to drag his driver into his stories too — made it all look more casual. Remember the Manchester “whip-around” when Bertie’s limo driver attended the dinner, but didn’t have anything to eat? But say what you like about Bertie, he never gave any money away.

Mr Cowen, on the other hand, ended up saddling the taxpayer with a €34.3bn bail-out of Anglo a few weeks after the Golfgate gobble.

But that bail-out was never discussed at the dinner. Of course not. In an almost unprecedented turn-out for Leader’s Questions, 12 of Mr Cowen’s 14 Cabinet colleagues took their seats for this spectacle — but they were clearly there to bury the Taoiseach not to praise him.

The meagre smattering of Fianna Fáil backbenchers (soon to be known as job seekers) looked even less impressed than the ministers as they sat grimly behind.

The performances from Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore were competent but below par, perhaps they were thrown by the extraordinary histrionics on display from the Taoiseach as he railed and wailed against the “smears, conspiracy theories and accusations of treason” he saw all around him like an over- dramatic Lady McBeth.

Oh, how the wounded swan thrashed in his personal agony as his whiter than white plumage was besmirched by a cruel, vote-hungry Opposition.

Yet, strangely, Mr Cowen never answered the repeated questions about why if everything was so above board in his dealings with Seanie, the Taoiseach had concealed their encounters in March and July 2008.

He never seemed to get the fact that this is just as much about his lack of judgement and candour as it is to do with what he and Seanie chatted about on the 18 holes at Druids Glen and that delightful dinner after.

Mr Cowen couldn’t even give a straight answer to whether he had any other dealings with Seanie, he thinks he didn’t but he can’t be sure — a conveniently loose get-out for when any other previously concealed meeting is uncovered then.

But thanks to Cowen and Co it’s the IMF who swing the clubs now — Brian will only be remembered as their incompetent caddy.

More in this section