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Wednesday 18 October 2017

Lowry refuses to quit Dail and says criticisms 'made me retch'

Patricia McDonagh

INDEPENDENT TD Michael Lowry yesterday launched a stinging attack on Sinn Fein as he was officially reprimanded in the Dail.

A motion of censure, which called on Mr Lowry to resign his seat in the wake of the Moriarty Tribunal, was passed by the Dail without a vote.

But the former Fine Gael minister said he had no intention of stepping down as the tribunal's report was seriously flawed.

And in a scathing attack, he insisted he would not take lectures from Sinn Fein on his behaviour, as the party had been associated with atrocities, mutilations and the murder of unarmed gardai.

The Tipperary North TD argued that Sinn Fein Vice-President Mary-Lou McDonald's comments in relation to his situation had made him "retch".

The all-party motion followed a two-day Dail debate on the controversial report, which took 14 years to complete.

It said that the conduct set out in document was "completely unacceptable" for a TD and urged Mr Lowry to resign his seat voluntarily. It had been planned to pass the motion without a debate, but Mr Lowry was given 30 minutes to respond after Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett and Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore said there was an obligation to ensure natural justice was done.

However, the move was criticised by Ms McDonald, who said it was scandalous and unacceptable that the Government was prepared to accommodate Mr Lowry after he had already been given an hour-and-a-half to put his position on the record.

Justice

Fianna Fail leader Michael Martin said the move was surprising as it had not been laid out on the Order Paper and he branded it wrong.

Mr Lowry took just eight minutes to reiterate that he would continue serving his constituency as he had done nothing wrong.

But during that time he also lashed out at Sinn Fein for its comments in relation to the report.

"Ms McDonald's sense of natural justice makes me want to retch. It comes from somebody who was associated with atrocities, mutilation and murders of civilians and unarmed gardai.

"I will not take a lecture from Deputy McDonald or anybody in the Sinn Fein Party on my behaviour," he added.

He accused Fianna Fail of hypocrisy, saying it had been exposed in the debate by Pat Rabbitte in what he described as "one of the best bushwhackings" he had ever seen.

During his speech, he said he had not sought the right-of-reply, but was informed of it just ten minutes before the Dail resumed yesterday.

He used his slot to argue that it was absurd he had been subjected to such a prolonged and sustained attack over a 16-year period.

"Several reports have been produced and I remind the Dail that despite the length of the investigation and time involved no charge has ever been brought against me," he said.

Mr Lowry said he had been punished to an extraordinary extent and he appealed to Mr Gilmore to ensure that quick decisions were made by the gardaI and the Director of Public Prosecutions on whether any charges would arise from the report.

Irish Independent

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