Sunday 24 March 2019

Varadkar says he contacted Lowry seeking his support in vote

Independent Tipperary TD Michael Lowry. Photo: Collins Courts
Independent Tipperary TD Michael Lowry. Photo: Collins Courts

Cormac McQuinn and Shona Murray

Leo Varadkar has confirmed he contacted Independent TD Michael Lowry to seek his support for the Dáil vote where he was elected Taoiseach.

But he insisted there is no formal arrangement in place with the Tipperary TD in return for his backing of the minority government.

Mr Lowry has claimed a multi-million euro investment in a Tipperary hospital is linked to representations he made to the minority government.

Mr Lowry and his refrigeration company were last week fined a total of €25,000 for tax offences following a court trial.

Now he has said Mr Varadkar called him seeking his Dáil vote to become Taoiseach last year. In an interview with the 'Irish Mail on Sunday', he said he told Mr Varadkar he would have his "unconditional support".

"I didn't say I'm voting for you on the condition that you do X, Y or Z. I gave him unconditional support and in the course of that conversation what I did say was that 'we have problems in my constituency that need attention'." One of these problems was at South Tipperary General Hospital and he claims there was extra investment there as a result of his representations.

Speaking in New York, Mr Varadkar said: "When I was running for Taoiseach before the vote happened in the Dáil I naturally rang around a number of Independent TDs, to ask them for support or to ask them to abstain as the case may be.

"As confirmed by Michael Lowry in his interview, he didn't seek or set down any conditions nor were any concessions made to him. So he doesn't have a formal agreement."

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Also in this section