Wednesday 21 February 2018

Michéal Martin: No party can involve Michael Lowry in a coalition

Martin defends his party accepting Lowry’s support for the last government

Fianna Fáil leader Michéal Martin
Fianna Fáil leader Michéal Martin

John Downing Political Correspondent

THE strength of the Moriarty Tribunal findings concerning Independent TD, Michael Lowry, mean no political party can involve him in a coalition, Fianna Fáil leader Michéal Martin has said.

Mr Martin rejected suggestions of a contradiction between his criticisms of Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s refusal to rule out Mr Lowry’s future coalition support, and his own party’s reliance upon  the Tipperary TD in the previous government in the years 2007-2011.

He said Fianna Fáil-Green Party coalition “could not pre-empt” the work of the Moriarty Tribunal which was investigating Mr Lowry and others during the period of that government. But now they “could not ignore” the findings subsequently published in spring 2011.

The Fianna Fáil leader said that the Oireachtas had tasked Mr Justice Moriarty with that investigation and had to respect and uphold the findings.

“Those findings were very strong, they were unequivocal and we cannot ignore them – indeed no political party can ignore them,” Mr Martin told reporters at Leinster House.

Replying to questions, Mr Martin emphatically said that the difference between the period 2007-2011 was the Moriarty Tribunal findings. These severely criticised Mr Lowry and led to a Dáil censure vote against him.

Mr Martin added that he was concerned about “other things out there also”  - a reference to an ongoing court case involving Mr Lowry and the Revenue.

Fianna Fáil’s environment spokesman, Barry Cowen, said his party was putting the focus on the Government’s failure to tackle the housing crisis.  He said Environment Minister Alan Kelly was making his eighth recent announcement about housing and was majoring “in spin and PR.”

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has criticised the Taoiseach’s failure to rule out Michael Lowry supporting a future coalition. “The Taoiseach’s failure to rule it out says a lot about his mixed messages on all of these issues,” he said.

Mr Adams confirmed that his party would never talk with Mr Lowry about support for a government.  “He was the subject of a censure here in the Dáil and there are questions, which have yet to be answered, around how the State did its business at that time,” he added.

“We will be making no deal with Michael Lowry,” Mr Adams insisted.

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