Tag Archives: Barry Cowen

And watching his back.

This morning.

The Convention Centre, Dublin

Following his sacking of Agriculture minister Barry Cowen A masked  Taoiseach Micheál Martin arrives for a cabinet meeting to announce Mr Cowen’s replacement.


Earlier: Heber Rowan: A Turning Point

Surprised And Disappointed



This morning.

Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen arrives at the Convention Centre for a Dáil session.



 Top: Micheál Martin and Barry Cowen at Leinster House in 2016; The Taoiseach announces Mr Cowen’s removal this evening


Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen tweeted the following, after it emerged that his party leader Taoiseach Micheál Martin had sacked him from his role as the Minister for Agriculture:

“The Taoiseach informed me this evening by phone that he was removing me from office as Minister for Agriculture. I am both surprised and disappointed with this decision.

“Previously I furnished the Taoiseach with all the facts about my drink driving conviction and the story that the Sunday Times proposed to publish about my alleged evasion of a Garda check point. In doing so I provided him with confidential details about my interaction with An Garda Siochana.

“I have made my position on these matters known publicly and I have acknowledged my wrong doing for something that occurred 4 years ago.

“I have sought an explanation – not as a government minister but as a citizen – as to how details relating to the incident were leaked to the media. The authorities have agreed to investigate the matter.

“One point warrants emphasis: at no time did I attempt to evade the Gardaí. Had I done so, the charges brought against me would, quite correctly, have been of a different tenor to those with which I was charged.

“I am responsible for the offence with which I was convicted 4 years ago not for an inaccurate Garda entry on Pulse about that event. Ten days ago and this afternoon the Taoiseach believed my failure of 2016 didn’t warrant my removal from office but he now appears to have changed his mind based on a Pulse report I gave him this morning.

“It is important to re-emphasise that report was leaked in contravention of the protections that I and every other citizen is entitled to expect in respect of their interaction with the Gardaí.

“Unfortunately the decision of the Taoiseach to remove me from office, when he supported me this afternoon in the Dail, has undermined and potentially prejudiced my entitlement to fair process.”





Taoiseach and Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin told the Dáil that Agriculture Minister and Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen has been sacked.

Mr Martin told the Dáil:

“This is a very sad day for Barry, for his family and for me. He has been a very committed representative, very diligent and very dedicated. Over the course of the last 10 days he’s been the subject of very 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 what he did was absolutely wrong and he apologised to all members.”


Earlier: ‘I’ve Seen The [Arrest Record]…It’s Not Quite As Portrayed’

Previously: Who Spilled? [Updated]

It Wasn’t Me


This afternoon.

Leaders Questions, Dáil, Leinster House

Taoiseach Micheál Martin responds to questions about Barry Cowen’s drink drive arrest record following revelations on the Sunday Times.

The Garda report apparently states the Fianna Fáil minister performed a u-turn and was pursued by gardai before his arrest in 2016, something which Mr Cowen denies took place.

He says he plans to sue the paper.

Mr Martin said:

“Having seen the document, it’s not quite as portrayed. But nonetheless the document is there. Now it’s not for me to publish, it’s not my record. With respect now, it’s not my record and people have entitlements here. It’s not my record.

Deputy Cowen himself was unaware of the record until he actually got possession of it himself in terms of exactly what was on the record.

That’s the only basis upon which one can comment on any record is when one sees the record. For the last four years he was unaware of any suggestion that that would be on the record.

That’s his point of view. And I certainly wasn’t going to be pre-judging or pre-emptive in terms of something until I see the record for myself.

And I’ve seen it early this morning. He sought it himself during the week, he contacted, I believe, the gardai to get possession of the record because he didn’t have it.

Others had it before he had it. And there’s an issue there too in terms of the individual, any individual in that situation.

And he was, I mean, in my view, he didn’t want to, in terms of his contribution to the House, last week, again, he hadn’t the document and he didn’t want to incriminate himself in relation to it

But I think he has really, all I can convey to you is that he has very, very serious concerns about it and how the whole thing has developed in relation to the how his own personal information was procured, or was disseminated from the PULSE record and that’s an issue that he’s extremely angry about.”


Earlier, the Taoiseach had the following exchange with Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald:

Mary Lou McDonald: “We now have an unprecedented situation where a Minister is disputing the Garda PULSE record of a drink-driving offence he was involved in and looking to have that record changed. Last week in his personal statement, the Minister stated he was “conscious that a constant drip feed of new information can be damaging and destabilising”. He said it was for that reason he had conducted a full examination of all records that he could obtain. Yet here we are a week later and the drip feed of new information continues.

On 4 July, according to The Sunday Times, contact was made with the Minister regarding the Garda record from 18 September 2016, stating that he sought to evade a Garda checkpoint on the evening of the drink-driving offence. The Irish Times today quotes sources saying the Taoiseach was made aware of these records at the time of this media query, that is, the weekend before last.

Can the Taoiseach confirm when he was made aware of the Garda record of the Minister’s attempt to evade a Garda checkpoint? Was he aware of this before the Minister made his statement to the Dáil? Did the Minister discuss with the Taoiseach or seek advice from the Taoiseach regarding his decision to seek to amend the record relating to his 2016 drink-driving conviction? Does the Taoiseach accept that the Minister’s statement to the Dáil was incomplete, as it made no mention of this Garda record? When did the Taoiseach inform his coalition partners about all of this? Has he challenged the Minister on his incomplete statement?

“Does he accept that a Minister challenging the accuracy or, indeed, the truthfulness of a Garda PULSE record is a very serious matter?”

Micheál Martin: “As the Deputy said, the Minister came into the Dáil and publicly admitted that he was convicted of a drink-driving offence four years ago, that he was penalised for that offence and that justice was meted out in accordance with the charge and with the offence that he committed. He adamantly denies any suggestion or implication that he sought to evade any checkpoint. That is his very strong position. He is very concerned that data related to his personal files have found their way to others and he feels that is a very serious issue.

“Irrespective of what side of the House we come from and irrespective of the matter at hand, this is an issue that will have to be dealt with at some stage. I am aware that the Garda Commissioner has referred the issue to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission, GSOC, and it is one we cannot ignore. I am not apportioning blame anywhere in this, because I do not know how that material left the PULSE file and ended up with various media outlets or others. I do not know how that process happened.

I spoke to the Minister, Deputy Cowen, the weekend before last and he adamantly denied any suggestion or implication that he evaded or attempted or avoid a checkpoint. At this stage, someone was saying that I was told about this. I believe it was a newspaper which said it gave information to my chief of staff, but I cannot work on the basis of media sources. I cannot verify anything without seeing the document myself. I had a lengthy conversation last evening with the Minister. Early this morning, with the Minister’s permission, I saw the actual document.

“The Minister has made it very clear to me that he wants to pursue both issues through the mechanisms that are available to him to pursue them. First, under the data protection process and by way of the Data Protection Commission, he is entitled to seek a correction of that particular record insofar as he believes that it does not accurately convey what transpired or that implications can be taken from it which may not necessarily be the case. He is pursuing that.

“Second, he feels the entire issue has become public because of what he sees as illegal procurement of the information. We now know that this aspect is being investigated. The Minister feels his rights have been transgressed and undermined in that regard and he believes he is entitled to due process in respect of both issues.

He has pointed out to me that when it was first put to him – I think it was by a reporter or member of the media – he was very taken aback by the suggestion that he had turned away from a checkpoint. He was very adamant about that to me. He said there was no issue made of it at the time, there was no reference to it at the time and he wants to seek to correct that aspect of it. In that context, he was clear to me that he wants to pursue his legal rights and entitlements in that respect.

“I have kept both my colleagues in government, namely, the Tánaiste, Deputy Varadkar, and the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Deputy Eamon Ryan, fully up to date in regard to my conversations with the Minister, Deputy Cowen, and in respect of the fact that I have seen the Garda file. I am not at liberty to disclose the contents of that file because it is not my property and it was shared with me in that context. That is the up-to-date position on this matter.”

McDonald: “It is becoming clear that the Minister, Deputy Cowen, will have to come before the House and take questions on all of these issues. However, for the purposes of today’s discussion, I am more concerned with what the Taoiseach, as Head of Government, knew. He has confirmed that he did, in fact, know about the Garda PULSE record and that there was an allegation that the Minister had sought to evade a Garda checkpoint. He has confirmed that he knew that information as or before the Minister was making his statement.

“I find it extraordinary that the Taoiseach would stand over a Minister who has made an incomplete statement to the Dáil on a matter of this importance. Were the Taoiseach’s coalition partners, the leaders of Fine Gael and the Green Party, aware of the PULSE record and the allegation that the Minister had evaded a Garda checkpoint at the time the Minister, Deputy Cowen, made his statement? The Taoiseach said he has had a conversation with the Minister, but the Taoiseach did not indicate that he challenged the Minister on the fact that his statement was incomplete.

“I accept the Minister’s point on data protection. That matter should be investigated by the appropriate authorities but it is not the net point here. The net point is that a Minister is now contradicting a Garda record. He came before the House to make what was to be a complete, no-holds-barred statement on all the material matters and did not state that this Garda PULSE record existed and that an allegation had been made that he had sought to evade a Garda checkpoint. That is absolutely extraordinary.

“It is even more extraordinary that the Taoiseach, as the Head of Government, would accept that. Do the Taoiseach’s coalition partners similarly accept that the Minister was right to come before the House and not give us all the information? Do they also accept that he is right to challenge the Garda PULSE record? It is extraordinary that a Minister is now openly contradicting the PULSE records.

“This is not just about Deputy Cowen, because we all must rely on the truthfulness and accuracy of PULSE records. The Minister has brought that accuracy into question but he has also failed to give a full account of events on that night. The Taoiseach was aware that there was another twist in the tale and yet it seems he has not challenged the Minister on it. Does he believe in full and frank statements to this House, or does he not?

Martin: “The Deputy has drawn two wrong inferences and made two incorrect assertions. I was not aware of the PULSE record and did not see it. I cannot work on the basis of a journalist saying that he or she has a source or paper that shows X. I saw the document myself this morning and having seen it, I can say that it is not quite as it has been portrayed. Nonetheless, the document is there.”

Transcript via Oireachtas.ie

Earlier: Blue Turn

Yesterday: No Turning back

Top pic: Rollingnews

From top: Minister for Agriculture and the Marine Barry Cowen; Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Tánaiste, Leo Varadkar

This morning.

Following Green Party leader Eamon Ryan’s call  for further clarity regarding Minister for Agriculture Barry Cowen’s drink-driving ban….

Tánaiste, Leo Varadkar said:

“I’m sure Mr [Barry] Cown will answer any more questions that are pertinent, more important is that he has made a complaint to the gardaí about this Garda report,

I understand the Commissioner has appointed somebody to investigate. We really need to hear the outcome of that investigation before any more steps are taken.”

Leo Varadkar says Barry Cowen has more questions to answer (Irish Times)

Last night: A Few Words, Mr Cowen?


Now not a good time?

Maybe later so.

This afternoon.

Dublin Castle, Dublin 2.

Embattled, coffee-chugging Minister for Agriculture and the Marine Barry Cowen arrives for government cabinet meeting alongside chief whip Dara Calleary.

Thomas Byrne legging it across courtyard (out of shot).

Earlier: Cobble Wobble

It Wasn’t Me

Derek Mooney: It’s Not Just Loyalty – It Is Loyality

Previously: No Turning Back



This afternoon.

Dublin Castle, Dublin 2.

Taoiseach Micheal Martin declines to chat with reporters holding enormous microphone stands ahead of a cabinet meeting.


The deputy leader of the Green Party has called for more clarity regarding Minister for Agriculture Barry Cowen’s drink-driving conviction.

In an interview with Newstalk radio, Catherine Martin said that Mr Cowen had “strenuously denied” the allegations over the weekend.

However, the Minister for Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht added that “more questions” had arisen and “more clarity” was needed.

‘More questions’ around Barry Cowen drink-driving offence – Catherine Martin (RTÉ)


This afternoon.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan deigns to chats with reporters – from a distance.

Earlier: Derek Mooney: It’s Not Just Loyalty – It Is Loyality

Yesterday: No Turning Back


From top: Thomas Byrne: left to right: Micheál Martin, Thomas Byrne and Ken McFadden in happier times

This morning.

The Michael Reade Show on LMFM.

Junior minister Thomas Byrne denied the claim by Meath Fianna Fáil activist Ken McFadden that he was the source of the leak of Barry Cowen’s drink-drive conviction.

Via Irish Examiner:

Mr Byrne said that he hadn’t spoken to Mr McFadden at 1.30am as suggested, adding that the conversation had taken place around 1am.

Mr Byrne said he had made phone calls to “many of his friends” on Saturday, June 27, when Mr Byrne was overlooked for a full cabinet position.

Mr Byrne said that he “absolutely” refutes Mr McFadden’s claims.

Mr Byrne said that he had taken legal advice on the claims, and had assessed his options, but suggested his role as a junior minister would preclude him from taking a case against Mr McFadden.

“‘As someone who has worked on defamation cases, these things take up all of your time.”

Seems legit.


Listen back here

Thomas Byrne denies leaking Barry Cowen drink-driving ban to press (irish Examiner)


Yesterday: No Turning Back

Friday: Byrne After Reading


Barry Cowen, Minister for Agriculture and the Marine

This morning.

Barry Cowen disputing claims in The Sunday Times he was pursued by gardai after doing a U-turn before a checkpoint on the night in 2016 he was caught drink driving.

The Minister for Agriculture and the Marine alleges the arrest record leaked to the paper is incorrect.

Barry Cowen disputes garda account of driving offence (John Mooney, Sunday Times)


Friday: Byrne After Reading

Previously: Mea Gulpa

What The L Were You Thinking?

Via Fran McNulty


This morning.

Two days after a Meath Fianna Fáil activist accused his local TD Thomas Byrne (top) of disclosing fellow cabinet member Barry Cowen’s 2016 drink driving conviction to the press…

Alan R writes:

You have to hand it to Fianna Fáil. Thomas Byrne has been trending on Twitter for the past 36 hours and there is a complete mainstream lockdown on the story here. Quite an achievement in media control and bodes well for the party containing more serious cover ups to come….


Yesterday: Well Now

Wednesday: Who Spilled?