Brian Cowen may have walked himself into a political storm last week after his now infamous Morning Ireland interview, but it is not the first time a political leader has come under public scrutiny after a heavy night's drinking.
Russian leader Boris Yelstin caused consternation in 1994 when he failed to get off his plane at Shannon Airport, leaving a red-faced Taoiseach Albert Reynolds waiting out on the runway for his arrival. Yeltsin, known to enjoy a few vodkas, was said to be "asleep".
Former Fine Gael minister for defence Paddy Donegan stymied his own political career during a lively lunch in Mullingar Barracks in 1976 when he famously declared the president of Ireland, Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh, to be a "thundering disgrace".
Fianna Fáil TD Jim McDaid was found guilty in 2005 of driving the wrong way up the Naas dual carriageway while drunk. McDaid had been drinking wine for five hours in a corporate box at Punchestown races before getting behind the wheel and ending up on the wrong side of the road.
Abroad, British Conservative MP Mark Reckless was forced to apologise for being drunk in the House of Commons and subsequently missing a vote on the budget. "I made a mistake. I'm really sorry about it," he said after the incident in July of this year.
Cowen is not the only leader who likes to relax over a few drinks. Former British PM Tony Blair reveals in his recently released autobiography that he had begun to rely on drink due to the pressures of his job, although his intake was not "excessively excessive", amounting to little more than half a bottle of wine a night. Blair's former cabinet colleague John Reid subsequently suggested that people in Glasgow fed their budgies more than that.
Blair's House Of Commons rival, Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy, once missed an entire budget speech because of his drink problem and later admitted to battling with alcoholism. In a book about Kennedy, author Greg Hurst subsequently wrote: "His drinking would leave him unfit to perform in public. His staff quickly learnt to throw a protective shield around him."
Nobody, including Cowen, can compare to former British foreign secretary George Brown who, at a grand reception in Peru, allegedly teetered up to a vision in a purple dress and drunkenly asked for a dance. Politely refusing his request, the object of Brown's affections said: "First, you are drunk. Second, this is not a waltz, it is the Peruvian national anthem. And third, I am not a woman, I am the archbishop of Lima."