Cowen said in the evening that he was ‘disappointed and surprised’ by the Taoiseach’s decision to dismiss him in the wake of controversy over the news that he was banned from driving for three months in 2016 for drink driving.
Agriculture Minister Barry Cowen has been given a stick and a road and has spent less than three weeks in office.
Cowen was stuck in controversy over the news that he was banned from driving for three months in 2016 for driving while intoxicated.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin told the Dáil tonight that Cowen had been removed as minister in the wake of the controversy. The Taoiseach said he had taken on the responsibilities of agriculture, food and the sea.
Cowen said in the evening that he was “disappointed and surprised” by the Taoiseach’s decision.
It is reported that Micheál Martin asked Cowen to resign but he refused to do so.
The Taoiseach said there were new questions to be answered about the case since it emerged that the Gardaí had a file alleging that Cowen had tried to avoid a checkpoint.
In a statement posted on Twitter tonight, Barry Cowen said he had informed the Taoiseach of all the facts surrounding the incident.
Barry Cowen has already apologized for the incident, but has strongly denied any attempt to avoid a checkpoint.
“Unfortunately, the Taoiseach’s decision to remove me, although he supported me in the Dáil this afternoon, has undermined my right to a fair trial and a fair process,” said Cowen.
Martin told the Dáil that it was left to other members of the government to address these issues as Cowen was unwilling to make a public statement and the controversy was distracting the government from its work.
Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said in the evening that the situation had “damaged” the Government.