WATCH Laois Offaly TD and Minister for Agriculture Barry Cowen RTÉ interview on drink driving ban

Interview on The Week in Politics

Conor Ganly


Conor Ganly


Laois Offaly TD and new Minister for Agriculture Barry Cowen has spoken of his deserved humiliation over the drink driving ban he received in 2016.

Speaking on The Week in Politics on RTÉ Mr Cowen said he was not trying to keep it a secret and said he hoped other people would learn from his experience.

He confirmed he was driving on a provisional licence but was accompanied when stopped and tested by Gardaí in 2016. He did not say where he was stopped.

He said that had regularised his licence since but also confirmed that he had had previous matters with speeding.

The Minister said he believed he was fit for ministerial office.

The Leinster Express asked Minister Cowen if he had a specific message for the Treacy family in Portarlington, Co Laois who lost a son and brother to drink driving in 2012.

"The comments I made publicly today on TV acknowledged the hurt and pain of victims and their families felt when hearing of my actions.  In that, I explained my profound sorrow for my stupid mistake.  I wanted to use the humiliating and embarrassing publicity to plea for others not to ever make or repeat my lapse in judgment," said Mr Cowen.

The family have been the face of a major public anti-drinking driving campaign run by the Road Safety Authority. 

Ciarán Treacy died at the age of four and his mother Gillian was badly injured when a drunk driver ploughed into their car near Portarlington in 2012. Ciarán's brother Seán was uninjured in April 2014.

The man who drove the car was jailed but has since been released from prison completing his sentence.