Saturday 18 January 2020

Lowry says gardai have not quizzed him over Moriarty

Michael Lowry
Michael Lowry

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

DISGRACED Independent TD Michael Lowry has not been contacted by the gardai in 12 months since the publication of the Moriarty Tribunal report.

Mr Lowry had himself declared in the Dail last year that he was under further investigation by the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) after the tribunal accused him of a "cynical and venal abuse of office" while he was Communications Minister in the mid-1990s.

But yesterday, Mr Lowry revealed in a lengthy statement that he had not been approached by "any agency of the State" in connection with the findings of the Moriarty Tribunal.

"Those baying for blood in the media ought to consider that perhaps those proper legal authorities recognise that the opinions of the Moriarty Tribunal are precisely that: opinions," he said.

Consequences

The statement came after Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte said he agreed with Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin that there "ought to be consequences" on foot of the Mahon and Moriarty Tribunal reports. And he questioned why nobody had been prosecuted in connection with the banking crisis.

Mr Lowry said yesterday that recent comments "made by various individuals" criticising the gardai for not properly pursuing their inquiries were disingenuous and improper.

"Those crawling over one another to stake a claim to the high moral ground would be well advised to stop attempting to interfere with the independence of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the gardai and also stop seriously prejudicing my right to due process," he said.

When asked about Mr Lowry's statement, a garda spokeswoman said it would be inappropriate for An Garda Siochana to comment on an ongoing matter or on any individual.

Pursued

The Criminal Assets Bureau carried out an examination of the Moriarty Tribunal report last year and passed its findings on to Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan. Justice Minister Alan Shatter has confirmed that Mr Callinan is currently consulting with the DPP "as to whether aspects of it may be pursued from a criminal point of view".

The gardai can only use the Moriarty Tribunal report as a guide -- they will have to carry out interviews and gather their own evidence.

The Moriarty Tribunal found Mr Lowry had received payments worth stg£447000 from businessman Denis O'Brien, whose Esat Digifone company won the second mobile licence in 1995. Both men have rejected the tribunal's findings.

Mr Lowry declared last year in the Dail that "there will be no money trail coming back to Michael Lowry's door because there never was money and there is no money".

He had been in the headlines in the past week after it was revealed that he got to meet three Fine Gael ministers about constituency matters in the wake of the publication of the Moriarty Tribunal report.

He said yesterday he was "greatly troubled" by the extent and nature of reckless and irresponsible comment emanating from various political and media sources.

"Despite never having been charged with or convicted of any crime in Ireland, I have been roundly condemned as a convicted criminal by the media and by various political opportunists. They wish to strip me of all constitutional rights and basic dignity, both as a public representative and as a citizen," he said.

Irish Independent

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