Saturday 17 March 2018

'I did not benefit one euro from any transaction that I had' - TD Michael Lowry dismisses Moriarty Tribunal payment findings

Independent TD Michael Lowry
Independent TD Michael Lowry

David Kearns

Independent TD Michael Lowry has categorically denied that he has ever benefited “by even one euro” from payments received from businessman Denis O’Brien, saying the people of Tipperary were “sick to the teeth” of the allegations.

Deputy Lowry said the transactions mentioned in a report by the Moriarty Tribunal in 2011 had been “completely and totally blown out of all proportional”.

“In Tipperary, and Ireland in general, there is a generally sense of decency and fairness amongst the public, and [they] have made up their own mind over these issues and know that I did not, contrary to the impression created, benefit one euro from any transaction that I had,” he told Newstalk Breakfast.

Continuing, he said: “I did not accept the findings of the Tribunes, neither do my legal team… because they were not based on facts or evidence.

“The Tribunal findings are the opinion of one man, and have no basis in law.

“The Tipperary people’s attitude to the Tribunal is that they are sick to their teeth of it, they’re listening to it, they’re reading about it, I’ve been involved [with it] over 20 years and what I can see from the Tribunes is that many legal people became professional millionaires out of the receipts they received from the Tribunal.”

The second and final report from the Moriarty Tribunal found that, during his time as Communications Minister, Mr Lowry assisted businessman Denis O'Brien in acquiring a lucrative mobile phone licence in the mid-1990s which, ultimately, made Mr O'Brien one of the richest men in Ireland.

The Tribunal concluded "beyond doubt" that Mr Lowry gave "substantive information to Denis O'Brien, of significant value and assistance to him in securing the licence".

The report also listed a number of payments received by Mr Lowry from the businessman totally some £447,000 (€586,000) during this period.

Asked directly about these payments on Newtalk earlier today, Mr Lowry replied: “Never, Never… Moriarty Tribunal set out a series of payments for which I absolutely got no benefit from.”

The Independent TD said that he had been “hugely encouraged” by the support he had received in Tipperary, saying it was a very satisfying to know that he had people standing behind him “when under  pressure”.

“And I’ve been under pressure for my years but always whenever I come back to my own people in Tipperary they always rally behind me and give me renewed confidence.

“It would have been easier to just quit and walk away after [the Moriarty Tribunal] but I’m not a loser, and I didn’t believe that I should give in or be hounded out of politics.

“It’s the people of Tipperary that will judge me… and in three weeks time they will have another opportunity to vote for me or not to.”

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