In a number of today's papers, you will see Brian Cowen's mug splashed on the front pages and being blasted for breaking the law, sort of. Why? For something so unbelievably small, it's hilarious. Mr Cowan was attending the Dublin - Cork semi final on Sunday *dabs tears from eyes*, in which the capitals hopes of reaching the all-Ireland final, went up in smoke. After full time, Biffo left his corporate box for a quick ciggie and stood outside as he enjoyed a few drags. However, brace yourselves for some scandal....he was puffing away in a no-smoking zone, shocking. A steward, who was in the vicinity at the time, went straight over to the Taoiseach and told him to put the cigarette out as he couldn't smoke in the area. Of course, being a law abiding citizen, he did so, and then returned to his box.
But, as the 80,000 strong crowd were leaving the stadium, so too was a man called Brian. He was also watching the match from the corporate boxes and saw Cowen sparking up and thus being told to stop. Even though he saw the country's political leader complying with the steward's request, the disgruntled sports fan still placed a call into Joooeee Dufayyyy (that's me impersonating the jingle for his show)yesterday. Speaking on Live Line, he went on a tirade about Brian not walking down to designated areas and claimed he "thinks he's above the law" adding "If it's not good enough for 81,500 people....is there a rule for Brian Cowen?". Thankfully, Joe had some sensible callers on the day who responded with 'He's only human', 'it was a mistake' and so on.
The stadium's director and the Taoiseach's office quickly lept to his defence. Peter Clarke said "The area the Taoiseach was smoking in was a designated non-smoking by Croke Park. However, from a legislative point of view, it was legal to smoke there." Ah, the loop hole, how magnificent. I would like to put that to the test. In relation to Brian himself, he was obviously too busy to talk to Joe (maybe he was hiding behind the bike shed in Dail Eireann, sparking up) but his office came out with the following; " It was a genuine mistake. He went out after the match into what he thought was the open air, for a quick cigarette....It was pointed out to him that it was a no-smoking area and he put it out straight away. He didn't realise at the time."
So an easy mistake, we've all done it. Now, I know some of our fingers are firmly pointed in Cowen's direction, when looking for who to blame for the Big R, but to take it to a level were he is slated for having a smoke? Come on, is there nothing better to complain about? How about the state of the HSE, or Mary Harney 's weight? And more importantly, why hasn't Biffo been confronted for looking like Mr Potato Head?? Leave him be, smoking is probably the only release he has at the moment. In his defence, there have been times where I myself have sparked up in Croke Park, not knowing there were designated areas.
So here lays the question..should Brian be publically slated for having a ciggie in a no-smoking zone?