Sunday 17 December 2017

Michael Lowry makes formal complaint over Dáil leak of controversial note

Valerie O'Reilly, who was described as 'not bad looking' by Michael Lowry TD.
Valerie O'Reilly, who was described as 'not bad looking' by Michael Lowry TD.
Michael Lowry TD. Picture: Damien Eagers

Tim Healy

Former Fine Gael Minister Michael Lowry has made a formal complaint about how a note he sent to Taoiseach Enda Kenny came into the public domain, the High Court heard.

The contents of the handwritten note, asking Mr Kenny to consider reappointing Mr Lowry's former PR adviser Valerie O'Reilly to the board of the National Transport Authority was published in the 'Sunday Independent' last month.

The note recommended Ms O'Reilly because she was bright and intelligent "and not bad looking either".

Yesterday counsel Patrick Treacy said the manner in which the note made its way into the public domain, in advance of Mr Lowry's trial on alleged tax offences, is prejudicial to his client. The circumstances of how "individuals in Dáil Eireann" provided the newspaper with the note is now the subject of a complaint by the Tipperary TD to the Dáil's Committee on Procedures and Privileges.

Prosecution

Mr Treacy was addressing the court as part of Mr Lowry's application for permission to bring a challenge aimed at preventing his trial before Dublin Circuit Court on alleged tax offences.

Mr Lowry is facing four charges that he allegedly filed incorrect tax returns in 2003 and 2007. His trial was transferred from Co Tipperary to Dublin on the application of the DPP. But the TD claims his prosecution is extraordinary because it concerns a payment he had both declared and paid.

Mr Lowry (60), of Glenreigh, Holycross, Co Tipperary, says he has no outstanding tax liability and is being treated unfairly and selectively. He also contends he is entitled to prohibition orders on grounds of alleged prejudicial publicity and alleged wrongful release of taxpayer information into the public domain.

Among the grounds for judicial review, it is alleged there has been an wrongful manipulation of the criminal justice process and Mr Lowry's right to a fair trial has been breached.

Another ground of his case relates to the transfer of the trial to Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

It is claimed this breaches his rights - and amounts to him being punished for success as a politician in Tipperary.

The Independent TD's application for permission to bring the action came before Mr Justice Seamus Noonan on Monday who directed it should be heard on notice to the intended respondents, including the DPP.

Remy Farrell SC, for the DPP, said his client would not oppose Mr Lowry's application for permission to bring the challenge.

The DPP would make its submissions at the full hearing.

Mr Farrell said Mr Lowry's trial is listed for mention before Dublin Circuit Criminal Court tomorrow, however he said the case is not likely to be heard until late 2015, or early 2016.

Irish Independent

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