FORMER Minister Michael Lowry will be served with the book of evidence next month in relation to charges he knowingly filed false tax returns.
The Independent TD for Tipperary North did not appear in person before Thurles District Court where Judge Elizabeth MacGrath was informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the book of evidence against the former minister is not yet ready.
The first charge was levelled against Mr Lowry in December and three further charges were brought against him last month.
Mr Lowry has confirmed he will vehemently contest the case.
“The matters before (the) court in Thurles relate to technical breaches which Revenue allege arose 11 years ago,” he said.
“I intend to vigorously contest the Revenue allegations. My lawyers have advised that I have a full defence to the allegations.”
Mr Lowry (60) of Glenreigh, Holycross, Co Tipperary faces a total of four counts of “knowingly or wilfully” filing incorrect tax returns.
Three of the charges relate to a date in October 2003 and involves income tax for the 2002 tax period.
The fourth charge relates to a date in August 2007 and involves income tax for the 2006 tax year.
Mr Lowry was represented before Judge Elizabeth MacGrath by solicitor, Patrick Kennedy.
Judge MacGrath was told that the case can be adjourned, with the consent of both parties, to March 4.
The Revenue Commissioners confirmed that the book of evidence will be ready for service on Mr Lowry at that date.
Judge MacGrath has already been told that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has instructed that the matter be dealt with by indictment before the Circuit Criminal Court by judge and jury and not in the District Court.
When the book of evidence is served on Mr Lowry next month the matter will be remanded to the Circuit Criminal Court for trial.
The charges, under section 1078 (2) (A) of the Taxes Consolidation Act, carry a fine of up to €3,000 and/or up to six months in jail, if proven in a District Court and a fine of up to €127,000 and/or up to five years imprisonment, if proven before a jury in the Circuit Court.
Mr Lowry, a father of three, is a former Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications in John Bruton’s Rainbow Coalition Government.
He was first elected to the Dail for Fine Gael in 1987 having been a successful Tipperary-based businessman and a GAA official.
Mr Lowry resigned his position in November 1996.
He has now been an Independent TD for 17 years.
Mr Lowry has been returned as a TD for the Tipperary North constituency at every election since 1987.