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Irish Government's Agriculture Minister Barry Cowen sacked amid drink-drive row


Barry Cowen (Niall Carson/PA)

Barry Cowen (Niall Carson/PA)

Barry Cowen (Niall Carson/PA)

Ireland's Agriculture Minister Barry Cowen has been sacked.

Taoiseach Micheal Martin made the announcement in the Dail parliament in Dublin on Tuesday night.

Mr Cowen has faced criticism over recent days over revelations that he was found to be drink-driving in September 2016.

He was stopped by police on his way home to the midlands from a Dublin sporting event.

The row has overshadowed the early days of Ireland's new coalition Government.

It was formed last month between leading parties Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, with the support of the Green Party.

Mr Cowen is a brother of former Irish premier Brian Cowen and is part of a long-running Fianna Fail dynasty based in Co Offaly.

Barry Cowen has previously held frontbench spokesman roles on Environment and Local Government and Social Protection.

The married father-of-four and former auctioneer represents the electoral district of Laois-Offaly.

Mr Martin said: "The president (Michael D Higgins), on my advice, this evening terminated the appointment of deputy Barry Cowen as a member of the Government.

"This is a very sad day for Barry, his family and for me.

"He has been a very committed public representative, very diligent and very dedicated.

"Over the course of the last 10 days he has been the subject of significant criticism and condemnation for a road traffic offence that took place in 2016.

"He has been completely clear and unambiguous regarding his drink-driving offence.

"He gave a personal statement to this house on July 7 in which he talked about the stupidity of his actions, he accepted that what he did was absolutely wrong and he apologised to all members."

Belfast Telegraph