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Thursday 18 September 2014

Lowry denied bulk of his costs for 'delaying' Moriarty Tribunal

Dearbhail McDonald Legal Editor

Published 08/11/2013 | 02:00

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Michael Lowry: launched a stinging attack on tribunal

FORMER communications minister Michael Lowry has been denied the vast bulk of his legal costs for deliberately "delaying" and "frustrating" the Moriarty Tribunal.

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Mr Lowry has said he "will not be shackled forever" to what he claimed was the "single-minded opinions" of tribunal chairman Judge Michael Moriarty's alleged "inquisition".

He will instigate a legal challenge in the Irish courts, he said, and, if necessary, will go all the way to the European courts.

Last night Mr Lowry, who will receive one-third of his legal costs relating to the mobile phone licence module, revealed that his total legal costs over 15 years are "substantial".

Mr Lowry received a formal response from the tribunal, chaired by High Court judge Mr Justice Michael Moriarty, to an application for legal costs by way of a costs order from Judge Moriarty.

The Tipperary North TD, who was previously denied interim payments towards his legal costs, launched a stinging attack on the Moriarty Tribunal.

He said that the tribunal ignored the sworn testimony of leading civil servants, officials from the Attorney General's Office, practising solicitors in two reputable law firms and a host of independent witnesses.

Mr Lowry claimed that Judge Moriarty's claim that he delayed and frustrated the tribunal is a pathetic and a lame excuse to apportion blame to him for deliberately delaying the tribunal.

"This is a blatant attempt to justify the excessive length of the tribunal," he said.

"This tribunal has been rudderless and out of control at massive taxpayer expense for the past 15 years," he added.

The Moriarty Tribunal was set up in 1997 to investigate alleged payments to former Fine Gael minister Michael Lowry and to the late Fianna Fail Taoiseach Charles Haughey.

The final report, issued two years ago, detailed the investigation into possible links between businessman Denis O'Brien and Mr Lowry.

AWARDED

Ireland's second mobile phone licence was awarded to Denis O'Brien's Digifone in 1995. Mr Lowry was communications minister when the mobile phone licence was granted.

The report stated that it was "beyond doubt" that Michael Lowry imparted substantive information to Denis O'Brien, which was "of significant value and assistance to him in securing the licence".

Mr Lowry's role was described as "disgraceful and insidious".

Both Mr O'Brien and Mr Lowry rejected the tribunal's findings.

Irish Independent

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