Barry Cowen was first elected to Dáil Éireann for Fianna Fáil in 2011 for the Laois-Offaly constituency.

He was no stranger to mainstream politics, with his brother Brian a former Taoiseach and a TD for 27 years before him.

Barry Cowen had also spent time serving in public office, a member of Offaly County Council from 1991.

Politics was a family dynasty, their father Bernard was Fianna Fáil Offaly TD from 1969 with a seat in the Seanad in the 1970s and their grandfather Christy was a county councillor and a member of the Fianna Fáil National Executive.

As a prominent frontbencher for Fianna Fáil, Barry Cowen was a spokesperson from his first Dáil term covering different portfolios including Social Protection and Housing while most recently up to the last Dáil, Public Expenditure and Reform.

After another successful election this year, he went on to become part of the Fianna Fáil negotiating team in the Government formation talks.

Barry Cowen was rewarded at the end of June when he was made Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine by the new Taoiseach Micheál Martin.

Just a week later, a story in the Irish Independent about a historical drink-driving penalty left him answering questions.

That weekend he appeared on RTÉ's The Week in Politics and called it a 'stupid mistake'.

Just a few days later, he gave statement to the Dáil, apologising for his mistake but not taking questions from TDs despite the opposition wanting to.

But it was a story that wouldn't go away.

Last weekend, another newspaper, the Sunday Times, had further detail and it led to the new minister releasing a statement to say he did not evade or attempt to evade a garda on the night he was found to be drink-driving in September 2016. 

This week started with Barry Cowen refusing to comment further while the matter was referred for internal garda investigation.

Some opposition parties and even his new Government colleagues ramped up the pressure saying he had further questions to answer.

He was sacked just two weeks and three days after becoming a minister.