DUSTIN THE Turkey has launched a staunch defence of his controversial 2008 Eurovision entry amid claims it tarnished Ireland’s reputation in the competition.
No country has won Eurovision more times than Ireland with four of the Republic’s record seven wins coming during a dizzying five-year period from 1992 to 1996.
However, it’s been 25 years since Ireland last tasted success in the competition.
Even the United Kingdom, who often struggle, have won more recently courtesy of Katrina and the Waves back in 1997.
Ireland’s wait is set to continue beyond this year after Lesley Roy crashed out in the semi-finals following a performance marred by technical glitches and over-elaborate stage props.
Reflecting on the debacle over on RTE’s Liveline, several callers appeared to lay blame at the feet of John Morrison and his comedy puppet creation Dustin the Turkey.
Dustin served as Ireland’s entry at Eurovision in 2008 with the song Irlande Douze Pointe.
An undoubtedly bizarre, comedy-led entry, the song failed to make it past the semi-final stage, finishing 15th out of 19 entries on the night.
Since then, the Dustin the Turkey debacle has regularly been cited as the moment Ireland lost the respect of its European peers in the competition.
To some, the decision to enter Dustin was seen as a deliberate attempt to exit the competition early or, worse still, seen as something mocking the entire Eurovision experience.
Dustin and Morrison, for their part, refuted such suggestions during an interview with Ray D’Arcy on RTE Radio 1.
"Where did it all go wrong indeed? I caught the end of liveline there,” Dustin said.
"They release them every year, they put the Euronuts. They should just keep them, lock them up in RTE and then release them every year around Eurovision.
"Look asking [three-time winner] Johnny Logan and Dana to fix Eurovision is like asking Beethoven to fix the X Factor.
"Firstly, fair play to Lesley last night, I thought she was absolutely brilliant. I genuinely did.
"I thought should've gotten through, but six countries don't and that's just the way the cookie crumbles, as they say.”
Responding to claims he was drafted in to deliberately perform badly, Dustin said: "The reason I went in 2008 is because the year before that Ireland finished plum last.
"And the year before that I think a couple of You're a Star rejects went over and finished last.
"So, if I've cursed this, fair play, I've saved the country a fortune so I'm happy with that."
Dustin, meanwhile, was only full of praise for Lesley Roy despite her early departure.
He said: "Lesley did a brilliant job last night and she didn't get through. We'll just keep on trying.
"Lesley did her best, fair play to her. Look the staging could've been a bit better, get your man from Ikea to do it.
"I watched it last night and I loved it. I thought it was just brilliant television. Bonkers mad."