Tuesday 20 August 2019

Mary Lowry profiled: The witness who 'bared her soul' for the 'love rival' trial

Mary Lowry. Photo: Collins Courts
Mary Lowry. Photo: Collins Courts
Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

ALL eyes were on Mary Lowry as she came to court over her four days of evidence during which she “bared her soul” for the benefit of the Prosecution.

An attractive, articulate woman, she had people flocking to the courtroom in a hope of catching a glance of her.

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“Look it’s not easy talk - it’s embarrassing,” she admitted in her first day on the stand but she stood courageous, laying everything out in the open to be picked over by the lawyers.

A series of robust exchanges with Bernard Condon SC for the Defence, marked her third day in the witness box as he accused her of telling lies and of painting Pat Quirke in as bad a light as possible.

He claimed she had made up the detail that she thought it “unusual” that he was on her farm at 8.30am on the morning of Bobby Ryan’s disappearance and that he looked “hot, sweaty and bothered looking.”

“I’ve bared my soul in this court case and it’s the truth,” insisted Mary.

Mary Lowry. Photo: Collins
Mary Lowry. Photo: Collins

Born Mary Quigley, she was the third eldest of six children, her father a small farmer with 15 acres in the Newport area of Tipperary.

She worked for a meat company for 14 years doing accounts and reception and told the court how met her husband, Martin, in the late eighties.

There was no “big romantic proposal,” she told the court. “He didn’t get down on one knee.”

The couple built on an extension to Martin’s family home at Fawnagowan and had three children, Tommy, Jack and Michéal.

In 2007, Martin was diagnosed with cancer and passed away in September of that year.

His death notice described Mary as his “loving wife and best friend.”

She was left in a good financial situation thanks to a life insurance policy and inherited the family farm.

Her relationship with Pat Quirke began in January 2008. She described it as a “sordid” and “seedy” affair of which she was “ashamed.”

Pleaded not guilty: Patrick Quirke departs the Criminal Courts of Justice. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Pleaded not guilty: Patrick Quirke departs the Criminal Courts of Justice. Photo: Gerry Mooney

“I was led to have an affair. I was a very vulnerable young woman with three small children, lost,” she told the trial.

“I’d loved my husband to bits - he died of cancer, I went to every appointment. My life had fallen apart. Pat Quirke tried to come in and control everything. They were the facts.”

In 2010, she met Bobby Ryan and their relationship developed.

“We were having a very good time. He was good fun. I loved him to bits. He made me laugh. He made my children happy. What more could you want?” she asked.

When Bobby disappeared, her affair with Quirke resumed but it wasn’t the same as it had been before, she said.

She began seeing Flor Cantillon in 2012 and was unaware that one of their conversations at her home had been secretly recorded by Quirke.

On the day Bobby’s remains were discovered in a tank on her farm, Mary left her home at Fawnagowan for good and never returned.

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