Minister for State for European Affairs, Meath East TD, Thomas Byrne has claimed that Minister for Agriculture, Barry Cowen set a bad example to the nation, when he was caught drink driving back in 2016.


Breaking his silence on the issue Byrne told the Michael Reade show on his local radio station, LMFM, ‘Anyone who drinks and drives sets an extremely bad example, but look we live under the rule of law and anyone who breaks that law is punished, Barry has made an abject apology for what he has done, I don’t believe he has gone to ground on this as has been suggested we heard from him in the Dail and he gave a full account of things there.’


Asked about unsubstantiated social media suggestions, by Fianna Fail activist, Ken McFadden that he was the behind the leaking of the Cowen story to the media, Byrne said, ‘ I absolutely refute what Ken McFadden was saying, he has the time of the call between us wrong for a start, it didn’t take place at half one in the morning.


‘There were lots of calls with friends of mine that day and certainly, I have been surprised to have been linked with the leaking of the story as I have a very good personal relationship with Barry.


‘I have been in touch with my legal advisers over what appeared on social media but I have a job to do as Minister and I know from experience that defamation cases take up an awful lot of time, time that perhaps can be better used doing the job to which I was appointed.’