More questions to be asked of Cowen, says Tánaiste

More questions to be asked of Cowen, says Tánaiste
Tanaiste Leo Varadkar TD during a Government Cabinet meeting at Dublin Castle. Photo:Gareth Chaney/Collins

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has added his voice to those calling for clarity from Agriculture Minister Barry Cowen.

Mr Varadkar said that while he is willing to wait for the outcome of a garda investigation into Mr Cowen's complaint, he believes there are more questions to be asked and answered.

Mr Varadkar told Morning Ireland that there "probably isn’t any more to say about it,” until after the investigation is complete, but said that he had sought an assurance from Taoiseach Micheal Martin that there won't be more stories about Mr Cowen.

Mr Varadkar is the third minister in two days to call for clarity from Mr Cowen, after both Catherine Martin and Eamon Ryan asked for Mr Cowen to clear up outstanding issues.

Mr Ryan said that Mr Cowen "needs to be clear on what happened" and said that "clarity is the first thing you'd want - that's what's needed".

The Tánaiste said he agreed with the Green Party leader that there were further questions to be asked and answered.

“We know that Minister Cowen committed a motoring offence four years ago, he has apologised for that, he paid the price for it which was a three-month ban.

“He has been punished for that mistake, I don't believe any one should be punished twice for that mistake.” Mr Varadkar said that a different issue has arisen since then, which was the garda report that Mr Cowen may have tried to avoid a garda checkpoint. He has said that the leaking of his garda file to a Sunday newspaper was a "criminal act".

“He says that's untrue, he's made a complaint to the gardaí about that to have that record corrected, I understand the gardaí are carrying out an investigation into that. At least until that investigation is done there probably isn't any more to say about it.

“We will have to see what the outcome of that investigation is.

“I'm sure Mr Cowen will answer any more questions that are pertinent, more important is that he has made a complaint to the gardaí about this garda report, I understand the Commissioner has appointed somebody to investigate. We really need to hear the outcome of that investigation before any more steps are taken.” Mr Cowen's denies the garda report that he tried to evade a checkpoint and has complained about the issue. Garda commissioner Drew Harris has referred the incident to GSOC.

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