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Woman tells of having affair with accused when she was 'vulnerable'


Mary Lowry pictured outside court. Photo: Colin O'Riordan

Mary Lowry pictured outside court. Photo: Colin O'Riordan

Mary Lowry pictured outside court. Photo: Colin O'Riordan

Called to the stand, Mary Lowry took the oath. She was dressed smartly in a striped top embellished with pink flowers along the hem and sleeves, navy jeans and a short navy woollen jacket, and she wore her hair in a short bob.

A certain tension in her voice and manner conveyed that this was not an easy task, as she was brought through the details of the intimate relationship she had had with the man seated before her.

"Look, it's not easy talk...it's embarrassing," she admitted to the court at one point.

She told of her background growing up, the third child of a small farmer with a smallholding of 15 acres in the Newport area of Co Tipperary. After school, she got a job doing reception duties and accounts with a meat company in Limerick and spent 14 years there.

Ms Lowry became visibly emotional as she recalled how a woman she worked with had introduced her to her late husband, Martin Lowry, in a nightclub in 1986 or '87.

After three or four years together, they decided they would get engaged and she started to put money away in the credit union. The family farm at Fawnagowan, Co Tipperary, had not been signed over to her husband at this stage and financially they did not have much, she said.

In 1995, they got married and she worked full-time until their three children were born.

Afterwards "the children were my job and Martin ran the farm", she explained.

But in 2007, Martin was diagnosed with cancer and Ms Lowry told the court that her husband died when her children were aged just 10, eight and three-and-a-half.

"It was a very difficult time for me and for the boys and I tried to be the best mother possible. I always put them first," she said.

After her husband's death, Ms Lowry began to get some help from Pat Quirke and he was "very good" to her at this stage.

She and Mr Quirke began a sexual relationship in January 2008.

"I suppose he crossed the line, I was very vulnerable at the time," she said.

She had "a lot of misgivings" and guilt and she also found him to be "very overpowering".

"I tried breaking it off several times but Pat Quirke would say things like 'sure who else will have you, you and your three boys'," she told the court.

She described the relationship as a "seedy affair" and it lasted two years until she ended it.

"I finished it and I wanted to just enjoy my life and get on with looking after my children and not feeling guilty or make excuses or tell lies," she explained.

"There's nothing nice about having an affair, nothing," she said.

In August 2010, she was out for the night with a friend when she met Bobby Ryan for the first time at a dance venue.

He was a lorry driver and part-time DJ, known as Mr Moonlight.

"We got on like a house on fire," she said.

The court was told that Mr Quirke did not take the new relationship well. At one stage, he sent Mr Ryan a text saying: "She is mine."

Another time, he took Ms Lowry's phone and went off with it, phoning Mr Ryan who had then been very "frosty" with her afterwards.

Asked how it was as the relationship between her and Mr Ryan had developed, she said: "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.

The trial continues.

Irish Independent