New Minister for Agriculture appointed by Martin

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has appointed Fianna Fáil deputy leader Dara Calleary as the new Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

The Taoiseach made the announcement in the Dáil earlier today, Wednesday, July 15.

Newly-appointed Minister Calleary is a native of Ballina, Co. Mayo and was first elected to the Dáil in 2007.

In the new government, the deputy leader had been appointed government chief whip and Minister of State in the Department of Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht, with responsibility for the Gaeltacht and Sport.

He previously served as Minister of State at the departments of An Taoiseach and finance.

L-R: Minister for Agriculture Dara Calleary; Minister of Communications, Climate Action and Environment Eamon Ryan; and Taoiseach Micheál Martin

Minister Calleary’s positions as chief whip and minister of state will now pass to Dublin West TD Jack Chambers, with Minister Chambers’s role as minister of state in the Department of Finance passing to Laois-Offaly TD Sean Fleming.

Cowen removed as minister

This follows the news yesterday evening that Barry Cowen had been removed as agriculture minister.

Speaking last night, Martin said that President Michael D. Higgins had, on the Taoiseach’s advice, terminated Cowen’s appointment as minister.

Cowen said that he is “both surprised and disappointed” by Taoiseach Micheál Martin’s decision to remove him as Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Last night’s s development comes on the back of a controversy involving Cowen in which it was alleged that he attempted to avoid or evade a Garda checkpoint in 2016.

Cowen has denied those allegations, saying over the weekend: “I did not evade, or attempt to evade, a Garda. Such an act would constitute a serious criminal offence and I was not charged with such an offence.