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Public inquiry to examine Lowry's land share in UK

INDEPENDENT TD Michael Lowry is due to face a public inquiry into his failure to declare his ownership of land in England.

He did not include his 50pc ownership share of a 21-acre site in Wigan in the northwest of England in his official Dail declaration for several years.

Under Dail rules, TDs are obliged to declare their ownership of any land worth over €13,000.

It led to 380 complaints from members of the public to the Dail committee which oversees the conduct of TDs. It has now referred the matter to the Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPO), which is going to carry out an investigation into Mr Lowry.

It is expected to be held in public in the New Year.

Mr Lowry has insisted the land was valueless because it was landlocked, overgrown and not zoned for development.

He complained that there had been an "orchestrated" campaign after a newspaper columnist appealed for people to send in complaints about him.

"It's very obvious what has happened here. In some cases, the same letters are coming from people in the same household," he said.

Mr Lowry, who recently amended his Dail declaration to include the land, said he would co-operate with the SIPO probe.

The matter is due to be considered at the next SIPO meeting on December 10. The likely outcome is a public inquiry, followed by the sending of a report to the Dail's Committee on Members interest.

The penalties that the committee can impose on a TD include passing a motion of censure and suspending them for up to 28 days without pay.

Irish Independent