Cowen appointed as new Minister for Agriculture

Additional reporting by Charles O’Donnell

Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen has been appointed as the new Minister for Agriculture by newly-elected Taoiseach Micheál Martin.

Cowen, a TD for Laois-Offaly, was given the nod in the new Government following the announcement of the cabinet this evening, Saturday, June 27.

In the last Dáil, Cowen was Fianna Fail’s spokesperson on Public Expenditure and Reform. An auctioneer and valuer by trade, the incoming member of cabinet is from Clara, Co. Offaly.

The new minister was previously Fianna Fáil’s spokesperson on Environment and Local Government in July 2012 and party spokesperson on Social Protection in March 2011.

Minister Cowen was first elected to Dáil Éireann in 2011 following the retirement of his brother – former Taoiseach Brian Cowen.

He was a member of Offaly County Council between 1991 and 2011 and acted as chairman of Offaly County Council from 2000 to 2001.

Meanwhile, Green Party spokesperson for agriculture – Offaly Senator Pippa Hackett – has been appointed as a minister of state in the Department of Agriculture.

Elected to the Seanad last November, Senator Hackett became the first Green Party councillor to be elected to Offaly County Council in May 2019.

The above announcements follow the confirmation today that Micheál Martin is now the Taoiseach. He was appointed to the position by President Michael D. Higgins after being nominated by the Dáil.

This evening, the new Taoiseach announced his cabinet in full, which will comprise:
  • Tánaiste – Leo Varadkar;
  • Minister for Climate Action and Transport – Eamon Ryan;
  • Minister for Finance – Paschal Donohoe;
  • Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform – Michael McGrath;
  • Minister for Foreign Affairs – Simon Coveney;
  • Minister for Agriculture and Marine – Barry Cowen;
  • Minister for Justice – Helen McEntee;
  • Minister for Health – Stephen Donnelly;
  • Minister for Social Protection – Heather Humphreys;
  • Minister for Education – Norma Foley;
  • Minister for Children and Disability – Roderic O’Gorman;
  • Minister for Housing – Darragh O’Brien;
  • Minister for Media, Tourism, Art, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht – Catherine Martin;
  • Minister for Higher Education, Innovation and Reseach – Simon Harris;
  • Attorney General – Paul Gallagher;
  • Chief Whip – Dara Calleary.

All of this follows the announcement last night that the Programme for Government was successfully backed by the three new Government parties – Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party. Each political party had its own method of deciding whether or not to approve the Programme for Government.