Saturday 21 September 2019

Moriarty Tribunal rejects Michael Lowry's claims that he was treated unfairly by being awarded just one-third of his legal costs

Michael Lowry
Michael Lowry

Tim Healy

THE Moriarty Tribunal has rejected former communications minister Michael Lowry's claims that he was treated unfairly by being awarded just one-third of his legal costs for being represented at the inquiry.

Mr Lowry says his bill for representation at the tribunal, which lasted 14 years, will run into millions, the High Court heard.

He claims he was treated unfairly and was discriminated against compared to the other subject of the tribunal, the late former Taoiseach Charles Haughey, who was awarded 100 per cent of his costs.

The independent Tipperary North TD has brought the judicial review application over the October 2013 tribunal decision which awarded him only one-third costs after finding he failed to fully co-operate with it.

Opening the tribunal's opposition to Mr Lowry's application today, Shane Murphy SC said Mr Lowry's claims do not stand scrutiny.

The decision on costs was arrived at after "a very elaborate process" and all fair procedures were observed, counsel said.

The costs decision was made after consultation with all the parties.  Mr Lowry was given the opportunity to make submissions on costs and did so, counsel said.

The costs decision was made with reference to the findings in a report on Mr Lowry's conduct rather than the substantive findings of the tribunal.

In relation to the claim there had been a violation of equality between Mr Lowry and Mr Haughey, counsel said while they were the two central parties to the inquiry, they related to different circumstances, dates, people and events. They were not identical processes of inquiry, he said.

Mr Murphy said his side wanted the court to exclude certain grounds advanced by Mr Lowry as part of his submissions for the judicial review proceedings.

Some of these grounds had not been pleaded at the time Mr Lowry got the permission of the High Court to bring his judicial review over the costs decision. These additional grounds included a claim of discrimination relative to the decision in the Haughey case, lack of fair procedures by the tribunal, and oppressive treatment.

It is established law that where grounds are not pleaded when permission is being sought to bring a judicial review, they cannot later be pleaded at the hearing, counsel said.

The hearing before Mr Justice John Hedigan resumes next week.

Online Editors

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News