Sunday 23 September 2018

Fine Gael hopeful Lowry's son will run for the party when his TD father retires

Michéal Lowry (Photo: Tipperary County Council)
Michéal Lowry (Photo: Tipperary County Council)
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Fine Gael has hopes that Michael Lowry's son will run for the party whenever his father retires as a TD.

A number of senior party figures say they believe Micheál Lowry, who is a councillor in Tipperary, would be a strong candidate in a general election.

He has previously denied speculation in local media linking him to Fine Gael during Enda Kenny's time as Taoiseach.

Leo Varadkar yesterday faced questions in the Dáil over his Government's relationship with Michael Lowry in the wake of his conviction on tax offences.

The former minister was fined a total of €25,000 at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court after he and his company were found guilty of two charges each of delivering an incorrect corporation tax return and failing to keep a proper set of accounts.

Mr Varadkar insisted there was no "formal agreement" that secures the Independent TDs on important Dáil votes.

But Fine Gael sources admitted to the Irish Independent there is an "understanding" that ministers help him out when they can.

One minister also noted that the party would be interested in bringing his son into the fold should he ever decide to run for the Dáil. "You can't blame the son for the sins of his father," the minister said.

Mr Lowry Jr is an integral part of 'Team Lowry' in Tipperary, which helps ensure his father repeatedly tops the poll. He did not respond to queries yesterday. However, he has previously denied approaches from Fine Gael.

After the last general election, he said there had been "absolutely no discussions or conversations with Fine Gael either nationally or locally".

Tipperary currently has no Fine Gael representative in the Dáil, although Garreth Ahearn has been selected for the next general election.

In the Dáil yesterday, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin demanded to know Mr Lowry's relationship with the Government. "The Taoiseach is always at pains to say there is no written agreement between Deputies Lowry and [Sean] Canney and the Government but there is certainly constant contact and the assistance that is provided for their constituencies is never discussed publicly.

"There are no records that we are made aware of so why does the Taoiseach continue to hide information about the unwritten deals with Deputies Lowry and Canney?" he asked.

However, Mr Varadkar replied that there was "nothing to publish and nothing to hide".

"We have no formal agreement, written or verbal, with any Independent deputy.

"There are, however, several Independent deputies who generally support the Government and because [of that] we are happy for them to raise constituency or policy issues with ministers."

Irish Independent

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