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Agriculture Minister Barry Cowen says he was fortunate no one was 'maimed or killed' by his decision to drink and drive

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Barry Cowen

Barry Cowen

Barry Cowen

Agriculture Minister Barry Cowen has said he was fortunate that no one was “maimed or killed” by his decision to drink and drive.

Mr Cowen also admitted he had been driving unaccompanied for a number of years despite being on a learner permit.

The newly appointed minister was speaking after the Irish Independent revealed he was banned from driving for three months after he was stopped by gardai for drink driving in 2016.

Speaking on RTE’s The Week in Politics, Mr Cowen said he was “humiliated” by his own actions and said he was “no example” to his own children. “It was a serious lapse of judgment and I wasn't raised that way,” he said.

The Offaly TD, who is former Taoiseach Brian Cowen’s brother, said if any good was to arise from his drink driving ban it would be that others would think twice about getting behind the wheel of their car while over the limit.

“I was fortunate in that there was nobody hurt, injured or maimed or killed, thankfully, but that's not to say that will be the case in any other instance of a similar nature,” he added.

He said “of course” he drove his car unaccompanied while on a learner permit but says he has since acquired a full licence. Mr Cowen said he should have told Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin about the incident but “naively” decided against informing the Taoiseach.

RISE TD Paul Murphy said it was “bizarre” that a TD could reach 49 years old without acquiring a driver licence.

Social Democrat TD Jennifer Whitmore said Mr Cowen should address the Dáil on his driving ban and the new minister said he would do so.

Online Editors