Attempts by the Opposition in the Dáil today to force Agriculture Minister Barry Cowen to provide another explanation in the Dáil for his driving conviction in 2016 have failed.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said that the matter is being investigated under the Data Protection Act and by the Garda Síochána Ombudsman.

An article was published in the Sunday Times newspaper at the weekend alleging that Minister Barry Cowen tried to evade the Garda Síochána checkpoint before being convicted of drink driving in September 2016.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin told the Dáil today that Minister Cowen is adamant that he has made no attempt to avoid the Garda Síochána checkpoint. He also said that he saw the document about this himself this morning and that what it contains is not what it was. Minister Cowen contacted An Garda Síochána this week to find the record himself, a record that has not been known for 4 years.

Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald said it was unusual for the Taoiseach to be satisfied that a government Minister had made a statement in the Dáil knowing that he was not telling the whole story. She said it is unbelievable that a Government Minister is giving an account of an incident that is contrary to what the Garda Síochána has on record about the same incident.

Paul Murphy said it was vital that the Minister answer questions about the incident in the house and Social Democrat co-leader Catherine Murphy agreed that questions remain to be answered.