The naked Brian Cowen

Earlier this month someone walked into the National Gallery in Dublin, Ireland and hung a nude painting of our illustrious leader, Brian Cowen, in the “National Portrait Collection” section of the gallery.
Another painting was hung in a nearby gallery. More details can be found on this Tribune article.

Brian Cowen

Brian Cowen

All a bit of fun right? Sure, nobody wants to see a satirical nude photo of themselves hung up in public but the pictures were only on display for a short time. One or two newspapers reported on it and the national broadcaster, RTE, carried the following report on Monday night:

I never saw the original news clip. I was barely aware it had happened until this morning when the blogs and twitter were all alight with talk of the apology RTE broadcast last night. They also removed the news clip and article from their site.

RTE has to apologise and be censored for reporting the news? What sort of country are we living in? If Fianna Fail had let things lie all this would have blown over and be forgotten by now.

Ray D’Arcy speaking on TodayFM (a private national radio station) revealed the painter is Conor Casbey yesterday, but he wasn’t the one who hung the paintings. After the show yesterday a Garda called to the TodayFM offices looking for the email of the artist to caution him. The request was refused. Ray admitted that if the Garda hadn’t called he wouldn’t be talking about the paintings today.

More coverage by Irish bloggers:

Grandad has a different viewpoint. Brave of you 🙂

Control of the media is essential at this time, lest they say something negative about His Holiness. In fact, the Director General of RTE should immediately be reassigned to a menial task in the Ringsend Sewage Station as a lesson to the rest of those who would speak ill of our Great Government.

We must all revere and adore His Godliness for his inspired leadership in this time of crisis. Nothing negative must pass our lips.

The North Koreans have the right idea.

(Great caricature by Alan Cavanagh)

So, next time you see something funny about Gordon Brown or Barack Obama be glad you don’t live in Ireland. Spread the news. Check out #picturegate on Twitter.

PS. Many many more blogs are covering picturegate now but take a look at this thread on Creative Ireland. Great photoshopping going on there! (Alastair)

In the news When-in-Ireland

After Budget 2007 I'm stinking rich

I was glued to the radio this afternoon like many people in the country listening to the Minister for Finance, Brian Cowen, announce the new budget. Also like many people I’ll be better off next year as a result of some of the changes he made.

The budget was great for pensioners and first time buyers, of which I’m one of the latter. The news isn’t so good if you’re addicted to nicotine. Still, the price of a pint hasn’t gone up. You might also be able to pay for those cigarettes with the 1% that was knocked off the top rate of tax. That extra €10/month in the children’s allowance could come in handy too.

Anyway, the country is glowing with smiles all-around, except for the opposition of course who complain that not enough was done or done in the right place. I wonder if anyone asked if Paul Stokes was going to get some?

If you want to compare how you’ll do in 2007 versus this year, then compare this 2007 budget calculator and the 2006 one. I’m not PAYE any more but if I was I’d be up a few hundred Euro apparently! Not stinking rich, but enough nonetheless.