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Saturday 18 November 2017

Lowry: Revenue leaked raid details

Michael Lowry, Independent deputy for Tipperary North
Michael Lowry, Independent deputy for Tipperary North
The house in Holycross, Co Tipperary, owned by Independent TD Michael Lowry

Tom Brady and Ralph Riegel

FORMER Fine Gael Cabinet minister Michael Lowry has accused the Revenue Commissioners of leaking details of the raid on his Tipperary home.

Mr Lowry also said that the raid, which was conducted on his Holycross property last Tuesday when he was not present, left a woman who was working in the house “traumatised and distressed.”

She initially believed that the officials who had surrounded the house were burglars.

A total of 15 officials, accompanied by a garda, entered the gated property which is less than 1km outside the picturesque Tipperary village.

The Independent TD, in an interview with Tipp FM, was furious over the raid and the reasons for it.

“It was a fruitless exercise. First of all I was baffled as to why there was any necessity to do it,” he said.

“They left an inventory of I don’t know how many documents were taken…maybe political statements I had made or handwritten notes I had, bank statements.”

“What I am saying is that this raid was unnecessary because of the level of co-operation we were giving them.”

“It was totally unwarranted and totally over the top. Everything that I have in my possession over the years is already in the possession of the tribunal and is already in the possession of the Revenue.”

“There was nothing new for them to find. There was nothing of significance taken from my office or from my home.”

The father of three said he was very upset by the raid and told no-one about what had happened.

However, he said he knew that details would be leaked to the media.

“I knew they would leak it. Typically, they did leak it. But by doing what they did they have certainly infringed my right to have my tax affairs dealt with in a confidential manner,” he added.

Mr Lowry confirmed that his solicitor has already written to the Revenue Commissioners over the matter.

The raid followed Mr Lowry’s insistence last March that he would not answer questions about a secretly taped conversation between himself and Northern Ireland businessman and property 'scout', Kevin Phelan.

Details of the tapes were revealed by the Sunday Independent.

The recordings, which relate to private conversations that took place over a decade ago, suggested that Mr Lowry was anxious about the so-called 'Doncaster Rovers module' of the Moriarty Tribunal.

When the transcript of the conversation was published by the Sunday Independent Mr Lowry confirmed that he had made a payment of £248,624 payment to Mr Phelan in August 2002.

This payment made headlines because, in a statement made through his solicitors to the Moriarty Tribunal in 2007, Mr Lowry indicated that a payment of £65,000 to Mr Phelan in April 2002 was the only payment he had made.

Mr Lowry boasts a highly regarded political machine in Tipperary North where he has been an independent TD for 16 years.

He was first elected to the Dail in 1987 and his organising talents and business acumen saw him promoted to the front bench of then-FG leader, John Bruton.

When then-Taoiseach Albert Reynolds saw his FF/Labour Coalition collapse in 1994, Mr Lowry was appointed Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications but resigned after revelations in the Irish Independent about his business dealings with Ben Dunne in November 1996.

Mr Lowry resigned from the FG Parliamentary Party in 1997 but has been elected on the first count in all subsequent elections as an independent in Tipperary North.

Revenue has refused to comment on the operation.

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