Ireland’s new Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine replaced Michael Creed late June.
The Irish Times reports that the Taoiseach (prime minister and head of government of Ireland) Micheál Martin said he was “disappointed” that he only found out on Friday that in 2016, Cowen served a three-month ban for driving under the influence.
He was found to be over the limit and was issued with a fixed charge penalty notice, a EUR 200 fine, and was disqualified from driving for three months. But as Cowen only had a provisional licence at the time of the incident, this resulted in a driving ban instead of penalty points.
The independent.ie has also learnt that the minister attended court for speeding on his learner driver licence just three months before his ban for drink-driving.
In a statement on Saturday morning, the Taoiseach said he was first made aware of the “issue” on Friday afternoon. “I have spoken to Minister Cowen and I accept that his remorse about this incident is genuine,” he said. “I am disappointed that I learned about it in this way and have made that clear to him.”
Cowen replaced Michael Creed late June. In terms of salmon farming, theMinister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine has the powers to discontinue site licences.