Barry Cowen says losing Cabinet role was 'hard price to pay'

Barry Cowen was dramatically sacked from the Cabinet by Taoiseach Micheál Martin on Tuesday night. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

Former Minister for Agriculture Barry Cowen has said his sacking from the Cabinet over a drink-driving charge was a "hard price to pay".

Speaking on Midlands 103, Mr Cowen said his drink-driving ban from 2016 was "an unfortunate mistake that I've paid a dear price for".

Taoiseach Micheál Martin dismissed the Fianna Fáil TD from his role on Tuesday night after Mr Cowen refused to make a second public statement about the drink-driving incident.

Mr Cowen said he has not spoken to the Taoiseach since his dismissal and confirmed he will not be leaving the party.

The former minister said neither himself or Micheál Martin are bigger than the party and that he had begun to "seek rectification of the issue."

"There are processes that I've engaged in. There is legislation in place that offers citizens opportunities to pursue such rectification," he said.

"I'm engaging in that and I couldn't engage in a process in the Dáil that would undermine or prejudice those opportunities that I have."

Mr Cowen said that as a public representative he had "to accept and appreciate the way you are held to account" and said he will do his best to continue do as much as he can as a TD for his constituents.

He said Fianna Fáil "has been good to me, we have good structures, people and members", adding that he will "work closely with the party" to continue to represent his constituents.

He added that politics "can be a cruel game", but "you have to show leadership and resilience" and he will not dwell on his sacking.