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Barry Cowen says drink-driving was a ‘terribly stupid mistake’

The Government minister acknowledged the 2016 incident was a serious lapse of judgment.

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Agriculture Minister Barry Cowen has said his 2016 drink-driving disqualification was a ‘terribly stupid mistake’ (Cate McCurry/PA)

Agriculture Minister Barry Cowen has said his 2016 drink-driving disqualification was a ‘terribly stupid mistake’ (Cate McCurry/PA)

Agriculture Minister Barry Cowen has said his 2016 drink-driving disqualification was a ‘terribly stupid mistake’ (Cate McCurry/PA)

Agriculture minister Barry Cowen has said his drink-driving disqualification was a “terribly stupid mistake”.

He acknowledged it was a serious lapse of judgment.

Mr Cowen, who was barred from driving for three months in 2016, told RTE’s The Week in Politics he was embarrassed.

He said: “It was a terribly stupid, stupid mistake on my part, something I am regretful for.”

He was stopped at a checkpoint and breathalysed on his way home to Co Offaly after an All-Ireland football final in Dublin.

Taoiseach Micheal Martin said he did not know until Friday about the Fianna Fail deputy’s record and was disappointed that he had not been told about it before then.

Mr Cowen, who was appointed minister as part of the coalition deal to form the new government, said: “Maybe I should have stood up and in the Dail, and led from the front and acknowledged my stupid mistake.

“I was not trying to keep it secret, I was trying to get on with my job.”

PA