McConalogue in running to replace Barry Cowen

 

Barry Cowen has been sacked as Agriculture Minister by the Taoiseach Micheál Martin.

He announced the move last night after Mr Cowen refused to provide further public statements on his 2016 drink driving offence.

Yesterday morning Barry Cowen gave Micheál Martin a copy of the garda report into his 2016 drink driving offence.

In the afternoon the government voted down an attempt to get Mr Cowen to answer Dáil questions on the issue and Micheál Martin appeared to back him.

And in the evening, Mr Cowen was sacked as agriculture minister.

Micheál Martin told the Dáil the garda report 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's expected to be Dara Calleary - though Thomas Byrne, Charlie McConalogue and Anne Rabbitte have also been mentioned.