Alex Massie

The Naked Taoiseach

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Brian Cowen: Frightening when clothed; terrifying when naked. Photo: JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images

Meanwhile in Ireland there's much hilarity over the story of a Banksy-style prankster who hung portraits of the Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, at the Royal Hibernian Academy and the National  Gallery of Ireland. It turns out Mr Cowen is indeed an oil painting. Or two, in fact. As the Irish Times reports: "He was shown holding his underpants in one painting and a toilet roll in the other."

All a spot of harmless japery you might think. But no, apparently not!

A detective from Pearse St Garda station visited the offices of Today FM yesterday afternoon looking for email contacts the Ray D'Arcy Show had with the artist who painted the nude portraits of Brian Cowen that were hung in two Dublin galleries.

On his show this morning, D'Arcy said the show’s producer Will Hanafin had spoken with the Garda who had told him that “the powers that be want action taken”.

Mr Hanafin said he was told that the gardaí wanted the name and contact details of the artist so they could caution him. The dectective said the artist was being investigated in connection with three charges in connection with incitement, indecency and criminal damage - for hammering a nail into the wall of the National Gallery.

When Mr Hanafin declined to pass the information on, he was told a warrant would have to be sought to get access to the show’s emails.



“On last night’s programme we carried a report on the illicit hanging of caricatures of the Taoiseach in two Dublin galleries. RTÉ News would like to apologise for any personal offence caused to Mr Cowen or his family and for any disrespect shown to the office of the Taoiseach by our broadcast."


Fianna Fail


[Thanks to SM for the heads-up.]

UPDATE: Here's one of the "offensive" pictures:

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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