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'A terribly stupid, stupid mistake': Barry Cowen says he's embarassed and humiliated over driving ban

Barry Cowen was appearing on RTÉ One’s The Week in Politics programme.

AGRICULTURE MINISTER BARRY Cowen has said he is “embarassed” and “humiliated” over a driving ban he received for drink driving, and has described it as a “terribly stupid, stupid mistake” that he regrets.

Speaking today on RTÉ The Week in Politics, the Fianna Fáil TD said he had to accept responsibility for a “serious lapse of judgement”. 

TheJournal.ie understands that Cowen, who is the Minister for Agriculture, served a three-month driving ban in 2016 after being found by gardaí to be drink-driving after attending the All-Ireland football final. 

He said today his actions were “no example” to his family and he would have to accept the ridicule that’s come his way as a result. 

“If any good can come out of this… that if somebody is thinking of doing what I did, that they might think twice before doing it,” he said. “I could say I was fortunate in that there nobody hurt, injured, maimed or killed. Thankfully. That’s not to say it would be the case in any other instance of a similar nature.”

Cowen said that he wasn’t trying to keep the matter a “secret” and he had acknowledged and appreciated the severity of what happened.

Yesterday, Taoiseach Micheál Martin appeared to accept Cowen’s apology, but said that he was “disappointed” that he had to learn about it on Friday. 

“I have spoken to Minister Cowen and I accept that his remorse about this incident is genuine,” Martin said. 

Cowen was named as the Minister for Agriculture and the Marine last Saturday.

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Cowen, a Laois-Offaly TD, is a brother of former taoiseach Brian Cowen.

He previously held frontbench spokesperson roles on Environment and Local Government, and Social Protection.

With reporting from Dominic McGrath

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Sean Murray

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