Sunday 18 February 2018

Tribunal rejects Lowry's costs bid

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.

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

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 100pc 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 of costs after finding he failed to fully co-operate with it.

Opening the tribunal's opposition to Mr Lowry's application, 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. 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.

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.

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.

Irish Independent

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