Barry Cowen 'surprised and disappointed' at Cabinet sacking

Former Minister for Agriculture Barry Cowen. Picture:Gareth Chaney/Collins

Barry Cowen has hit out at the Taoiseach's decision to sack him as Minister for Agriculture. 

Mr Cowan said it has undermined his entitlement to fair process in the investigation about the leaking of his garda Pulse record.

The former Minister also queried why the Taoiseach backed him in the Dáil this afternoon but changed his mind this evening.

He also said the report into his drink-driving offence was leaked in contravention to his personal rights as a citizen.

In a series of tweets reacting to the Taoiseach's announcement, Cowen said he was both surprised and disappointed with this decision.

Mr Cowen said: "Previously I furnished the Taoiseach with all the facts about my drink driving conviction and the story that the Sunday Times proposed to publish about my alleged evasion of a Garda check point. 

"In doing so I provided him with confidential details about my interaction with An Garda Síochána. .

"I have made my position on these matters known publicly and I have acknowledged my wrongdoing for something that occurred 4 years ago.

"I have sought an explanation - not as a government minister but as a citizen - as to how details relating to the incident were leaked to the media.

The authorities have agreed to investigate the matter. One point warrants emphasis: at no time did I attempt to evade the Gardaí

 "Had I done so, the charges brought against me would, quite correctly, have been of a different tenor to those with which I was charged.

"I am responsible for the offence with which I was convicted 4 years ago - not for an inaccurate garda entry on Pulse about that event.

"Ten days ago and this afternoon the Taoiseach believed my failure of 2016 didn’t warrant my removal from office but he now appears to have changed his mind based on a Pulse report I gave him this morning.

"It is important to re-emphasise that report was leaked in contravention of the protections that I and every other citizen is entitled to expect in respect of their interaction with the Gardaí.

"Unfortunately, the decision of the Taoiseach to remove me from office, when he supported me this afternoon in the Dáil, has undermined and potentially prejudiced my entitlement to fair process," Mr Cowen said.