The dispute overshadowed the beginnings of the new Irish coalition government, formed last month between the main parties Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, with the support of the Green Party. And it also added to the existing tensions between Mr. Martin’s Fianna Fail and Fine Gael of former Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.
The father of four, married and a former auctioneer, represents the riding of Laois-Offaly.
He had refused to make a second public statement about a drunk driving ban imposed on him four years ago.
Speaking at the Dáil in Dublin last night, Mr. Martin said that the police records relating to the offense of driving under the influence of Mr. Cowen had raised questions that required further explanation.
He said it was untenable for members of the government to respond to these concerns at Dáil when Mr. Cowen refused to do so.
And he warned that the issue had become detrimental to the government’s ongoing work.
READ MORE: Irish crisis: Leo Varadkar’s replacement, Micheal Martin, faces a blow
Mr. Martin said: “It is a very sad day for Barry, his family and for me.
“He was a very committed, very diligent and very dedicated public representative.
Mr. Cowen was arrested at a police checkpoint and breathed his breath on the way back to Co Offaly after an Irish football final in Dublin and exceeded the limit.
He was then in possession of a legal driving license because his provisional license had expired.
He was fined € 200 after a three-month driving ban.
Cowen said he was “surprised and disappointed” with the Taoiseach’s decision to fire him.
He said: “Unfortunately, the Taoiseach’s decision to resign from office when he supported me this afternoon at Dail has undermined and potentially compromised my right to a fair trial. ”
Cowen “categorically denies” having evaded or attempted to escape a checkpoint the night he was found driving while intoxicated and believes that Garda’s record is inaccurate.
DO NOT MISS
Micheal Martin’s crisis: the new Irish leader ALREADY on the point[ANALYSIS]
Micheal Martin panics: Irish leader’s honeymoon ended in the midst of the crisis[SPOTLIGHT]
Irish leader faces chaos in Micheal Martin crisis[FOCUS]
Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney admitted that the dismissal of Mr Cowen was “not good news for the government so soon”.
He said: “Unfortunately, we have seen the withdrawal of a minister from the government, this is not good news for the government so soon.
“This is something Fine Gael is obviously not happy with, and it is something that, personally, is very difficult for Barry Cowen and his family.
“But we have to move on and I’m sure we will get a clear explanation from the Taoiseach on what exactly happened and why. “