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Saturday 3 December 2016

Taoiseach says no 'benefits' were given to Independent TD in return for Government support

Mr Kenny says he’s “grateful” for the former Fine Gael Minister’s support

Published 28/09/2016 | 13:42

Michael Lowry
Michael Lowry

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said he is “grateful” for Independent TD Michael Lowry’s support for his minority Government.

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But Mr Kenny insisted that Mr Lowry has “neither a deal nor an understanding” which delivers benefits to his Tipperary constituency in return for his vote.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said that Mr Lowry, forced to quit Fine Gael and the Government back in 1996, had repeatedly supported the Government. Mr Martin said the Independent TD said he had not got “a deal” in return for support – but he did have “an understanding” which would deliver benefits for Tipperary.

“Is he fibbing about that or what?” Mr Martin asked the Taoiseach, reminding him of a pledge to publish any arrangements made in return for support.

Mr Martin pointed to recent reports of official sanction for a hotel-style convalescent facility in Clonmel being sanctioned after representations by Mr Lowry.

The Taoiseach said that these reports may have been exaggerated. “I know that the Minisiter for Health … I’m not sure whether he met with Deputy Lowry and a number of doctors. I think he did that out of normal courtesy for any deputy,” Mr Kenny replied.

“These days if you pass somebody on the corridor you’ve had a meeting,” the Taoiseach added.

“I appreciate the fact that he has supported the Government in here in terms of his record. There are no understandings…. I don’t have any information to the contrary,” Mr Kenny added.

Mr Lowry, a Fine Gael TD in Tipperary since 1987, was heavily criticised by the Moriarty Tribunal in March 2011 and his support for various coalition governments in recent years has been very controversial.

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