Minister for Agriculture Barry Cowen has described his disqualification for drink-driving as a "terribly stupid mistake" and something that he regretted.

Speaking on RTÉ's The Week in Politics, Mr Cowen said he had to accept responsibility for his actions and described the incident as a "serious lapse of judgement".

The Fianna Fáil TD said he was humiliated and embarrassed by what had happened and had to accept the ridicule that his actions had caused.

Mr Cowen served a three-month disqualification from driving in 2016.

He was stopped at a checkpoint and breathalysed on his way home to Co Offaly from Dublin after the All-Ireland football final four years ago.

He was found to be over the limit and was issued with a fixed charge penalty notice, a €200 fine, and was disqualified from driving for three months.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said he only found out about the incident on Friday and was disappointed that he had not been told about it by Mr Cowen before then.

Minister Cowen said that "maybe" he should have told his party leader about his disqualification from driving.

He said he had previously supported legislation on drink-driving and that "maybe" he should have stood up in the Dáil and "led from the front on this issue and acknowledged (his) terrible mistake".

Mr Cowen said he had never had a full licence before he was disqualified. He said he was still on a provisional licence at the time of the incident, but had since "regularised" his licence.

He conceded that he had previously driven unaccompanied as a learner driver.

Asked if he would be making a statement to the Dáil, Minister Cowen said he would be happy to do so, saying that if that was what people would expect or appreciate, then he had no problem in doing that.

Speaking on the same programme, Sinn Féin TD Imelda Munster said it was a very serious issue and politicians need to be leading from the front.

She said Mr Cowen, to his credit, has put his hands up and admitted he was wrong. However, she said she did not understand why he did not alert the Taoiseach sooner.

Social Democrats TD Jennifer Whitmore said that Mr Cowen making a Dáil statement on the matter was a good idea.

Ms Whitmore said it was disappointing that in 2020 there were still senior politicians making such mistakes.

RISE TD Paul Murphy said he found it a bit bizarre that someone who was almost 50 and drove every day of his life did not have a full driving licence.

The Minister of State for Local Government and Planning said Mr Cowen has been clear in accepting personal responsibility for his actions.

Speaking on the same programme, Peter Burke said what was key during the matter was the fact the law was implanted fully.

Elsewhere, the Minister for Climate Action, Communication Networks and Transport has said Mr Cowen has apologised to his colleagues and there is a lesson to be learned.

Speaking on Newstalk, Eamon Ryan said it was absolutely appropriate that the proper fines and bans were implemented following the incident.

The Green Party leader said there is a message here that nobody is exempt from the law.