Saturday 21 September 2019

Taoiseach should publish details of 'any assistance given to Independent TDs to support government' - Micheál Martin

Michael Martin
Michael Martin
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Micheál Martin has called on the Taoiseach to publish details of any assistance given to controversial TD Michael Lowry and other Independents in return for their support of the government.

The Fianna Fáil leader's remarks in the Dáil comes after Mr Lowry and his refrigeration company were fined a total of €25,000 for tax offences following a trial in the Dublin Circuit Court.

Mr Lowry has previously claimed his has an "understanding" with the Fine Gael minority government.

Mr Martin referred to government denials that there is an agreement or special deal with Mr Lowry and other independents like Seán Canney, who often vote with the government.

Michael Lowry TD. Picture: Tom Burke
Michael Lowry TD. Picture: Tom Burke

He said that Mr Varadkar has previously explained that they are able to raise issues relating to their constituencies with ministers.

Mr Martin said: "You are always at pains to say that there is no written agreement between Deputy Lowry and Deputy Canney and the government but there's certainly constant contact and the assistance that is provided for their constituencies is never discussed publicly.

"And there are no records that we are made aware of so why Taoiseach do you continue to hide information about the non-written deals with Deputy Lowry and Deputy Canney?," he asked.

Mr Martin claimed that Mr Lowry has never voted against the government.

And he asked: "Can you now commit to publishing information in relation to the assistance that has been given to Deputies Canney, Lowry and others so that the unnecessary speculation can be cleared up?"

Mr Varadkar said: "There's nothing to publish and nothing to hide...

Seán Canney
Seán Canney

"As I've said to you before, we have no formal agreement... written or verbal with any independent TD.

"However there are several independent TDs who generally support the government and because they generally support the government we're happy for them to raise with ministers constituency issues or policy issues and if we can work on them we do, and where we can't, we can't."

He added: "There's certainly nothing to publish."

Mr Varadkar pointed out the Independent TDs involved don't always support the government. He said Mr Lowry has voted against the government on ten occasions in the last two years, didn't vote at all on 71 occasions and supported the government in 89 votes.

Irish Independent

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