The former Minister of State for Transport, Jim McDaid, has apologised for what he said was a serious lapse in judgement in driving while under the influence of alcohol last night.

In a statement issued this afternoon, Dr McDaid said that as a public representative he had a particular obligation to uphold the law.

He said the incident was now a matter for the gardaí to deal with, and apologised to the force and to his family and constituents.

It is understood the Donegal North East TD was stopped on the Naas Road on the outskirts of Dublin last night. 

Gardaí have confirmed that they stopped a car on the N4 or Naas Road outside Naas, Co Kildare, and arrested the driver on suspicion of drunken driving.

The man was taken to Naas Garda Station and later released, while samples have now been sent to the Medical Bureau of Road Safety.

The embarrassment for Dr McDaid is compounded by the fact that the issue of road safety was highlighted by the Taoisach, Bertie Ahern, during Leader's Questions in the Dáil this morning.

Mr Ahern appealed for responsible behaviour by drivers as the Bank Holiday weekend approaches.

Dr McDaid was Minister for Sport and Tourism in the last Government.   

He was subsequently dropped from the Cabinet but served as the Minister of State for Transport with responsibility for traffic until last year’s reshuffle.