AGRICULTURE minister Barry Cowen has been sacked. Taoiseach Micheál Martin made the announcement in the Dáil tonight.
Mr Cowen had faced criticism over revelations he was found to be drink-driving in September 2016. He was stopped by gardaí on his way home from the All-Ireland Football final.
“He has been completely clear and unambiguous regarding his drink driving offence,” Mr Martin said. “He accepted what he did was absolutely wrong and he apologised to all members. I accepted that his remorse was genuine and I accepted his apology.”
Mr Martin said Mr Cowen, while apologetic for the drink-driving, emphasised that one allegation — that he tried to evade gardaí during the incident — was “completely untrue”.
“We’ve had extensive discussions at this point, last evening and again this morning, when he shared with me the actual garda record under dispute,” Mr Martin said.
“Following these discussions, and having seen the garda report this morning, it was my view that it raised additional issues requiring further explanation and clarification.
“I made this view clear to him and gave him space today to consider the matter further.
However, he has decided he is not prepared to address this allegation publicly, and will not make any further statement or answer any further questions on this issue in this house.”
Mr Martin said the issue was “damaging to the ongoing work of Government”.