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Main Opposition Party Critisise Taoiseach's Defence Of Barry Cowen

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said he was left with no choice but to sack Cowen last night.

Dara Calleary has been appointed as the new Agriculture Minister, replacing Barry Cowen.

Micheál Martin's surprise sacking of Barry Cowen last night raised many eyebrows but the Taoiseach said today he was left with no choice as Cowen wouldn't give any further public statement on the questions about his drink driving ban.

This afternoon Mayo TD Dara Calleary has been appointed as Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Dublin West will have a third TD represented at cabinet as Jack Chambers has been promoted to Chief Whip and will take charge of sport and the Gaeltacht.

While Sean Fleming has been promoted to a Junior Ministry in the Department of Finance.

In the Dáil Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald questioned Micheál Martin's actions over the past 24 hours.

While Labour leader Alan Kelly sought more detail on the garda pulse file of Mr Cowen's driving offence and questioned where other Ministers are:

The Taoiseach will be hoping this draws a line under the issue and with the cabinet meeting over the coming hours to decide whether or not to move to phase four of the unlocking of the country, that focus can now turn to the pressing issues of state.

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