Sunday 22 April 2018

Lowry changes Dail declaration to admit 95pc share of firm

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

INDEPENDENT TD Michael Lowry has changed his Dail declaration of interests for the second time this year to admit he owns 95pc of a refrigeration company.

Mr Lowry had always declared that he was the director of the Garuda company, which had major refrigeration contracts with Dunnes Stores and other companies.

But even though the Tipperary South TD's ownership of the company was well known, he never confirmed the size of his shareholding in his declaration of interests as a TD.

He said he was declaring it now for "housekeeping" reasons.

Mr Lowry said he should have declared his 95pc shareholding as well as his directorship under the rules.

"It's very simple. It's effectively housekeeping," he said.

Mr Lowry also said he had changed his TD's declaration of interests after being criticised earlier this year for not declaring his ownership of 11 acres of land in Tipperary.

He said he had contacted the clerk of the Dail Kieran Coughlan and had been advised to declare his shareholding in Garuda as well as the land.

"I moved to clarify the situation. It was only a technical thing," he added.

Mr Lowry established Garuda in 1988, a year after he was elected a Fine Gael TD.

The company, which is based in Abbey Road in Thurles, was awarded the contract for the supply and maintenance of refrigeration units in all Dunnes Stores outlets by Ben Dunne.

It later emerged that Dunnes paid for refurbishment work at Mr Lowry's home at Holycross, Co Tipperary, at a cost of almost IR£400,000.

The company's accumulated profits dipped slightly by €71,000 to €1.01m last year.

In 2006, it had to make a €1.2m tax settlement with the Revenue.

Irish Independent

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