Minister for Agriculture Barry Cowen has made an abject apology for driving after consuming alcohol in September 2016, an incident which saw him put off the road for three months.

Addressing the Dáil on Tuesday night, he described the decision to drink drive as “a stupid, stupid mistake”, for which he was profoundly sorry.

Telling TDs that, in addition to the drink driving and speeding offences detailed in recent days, he also paid a fine for failing to display a tax disk on his car 14 years ago.

Agriculture work

Minister Cowen added that he hoped to continue his work as agriculture minister, detailing meetings on Tuesday with the EU Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan and Northern Ireland agriculture minister Edwin Poots “ensuring that Ireland’s agriculture, food and fisheries sectors and their interests are best served in advance or after an EU-UK trade deal”.

He also said he met with Coillte and forestry officials in the Department of Agriculture, agreeing short term measures to address the crisis in the timber harvesting industry.

“It’s the like of that work and future work of its kind that I would rather be remembered,” he said.

Serious lack of judgement

During his address, Minister Cowen said he had apologised to his family, the Taoiseach, the Government, constituents and the general public for what he described as a “serious lack and lapse of judgement” and said the criticism he received was fully deserved.

He also said he had spoken to Susan Gray of Parc Road Safety Group and Donna Price of the Irish Road Victims Association and apologised to them for the impact of the hurt the incident had on victims.

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