Barry Cowen

  • Mayo TD Dara Calleary is believed to be one of the front-runners to be appointed Minister for Agriculture, after Barry Cowen was sacked last night.

    Taoiseach Micheál Martin announced the move, after Mr Cowen refused to provide further public statements on his 2016 drink driving offence.

    Micheál Martin told the Dáil the Garda report he received on the matter yesterday raised additional issues that Barry Cowen refused to address publicly.

    He said this was untenable and undermined the work of the government.

    In a statement Barry Cowen said he was surprised and disappointed with the decision.

    He also queried why the Taoiseach backed him in the afternoon and withdrew that support the same night.

    Cowen strongly insists he did not try to evade gardaí when he was stopped for the drink driving offence, and said the decision has undermined and potentially prejudiced his entitlement to fair process.

    His successor will be appointed today.

    It could be Dara Calleary - although Charlie McConalogue and Galway's Anne Rabbitte are also believed to be in the running for the job.