Lowry dismisses claims in Moriarty Report

Wednesday 23 March 2011 22.44
Michael Lowry - No intention of standing down
Michael Lowry - No intention of standing down

Tipperary North TD Michael Lowry has said he welcomes the decision to send the Moriarty tribunal report to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Moriarty Report summary | main points
Full report Part 1 | 2

Mr Lowry said he was confident the findings of the enquiry would fall short of the standards of proof required by the DPP.

He also claimed that Judge Moriarty had been led by his legal team who he said had an agenda from the outset.

Mr Lowry said he had spoken to the retired Secretary General of his former department today and that John Loughrey had told him the tribunal finding that as minister he had rushed through the licence decision was outrageous

Earlier, he said he was sickened and saddened by the report of the Moriarty Tribunal.

The report found that the former Minister for Communications had assisted businessman Denis O'Brien in his company's bid for the country's second mobile phone licence in 1995.

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, Mr Lowry said what he called the 'opinions' of Mr Justice Michael Moriarty were not grounded in evidence or fact.

He rejected the assertion that while he was Minister for Communications, he shortened the licence process during the awarding of a mobile phone licence to Esat Digifone.

Mr Lowry said if any actions are to be taken by any other authority, he was ready to defend his actions.

Speaking earlier on Tipp FM, Mr Lowry said the tribunal had a 'slash and burn approach'.

He said the final report is blatantly and disgracefully wrong in its opinions and that it would not stand up for 'an hour in court'.

Mr Lowry said he had no intention of considering his position as a TD because he said he has 'done absolutely nothing wrong'.

He said the tribunal had tortured him and that the facts have been laid out to the tribunal. Despite that, he said, it had ignored the sworn evidence of everyone, including senior civil servants.

Mr Lowry said the fact is that the project team included officials from the Department of Finance and other departments. He said he had nothing to do with running the process.

The 'notion' he misled then Taoiseach John Bruton or other ministers is farcical, he added.

He said the tribunal has shown shameful contempt for the evidence of many people who appeared before the tribunal.

No money from O'Brien

The report also said that Mr O'Brien made payments and a loan guarantee to Mr Lowry worth more than £900,000 sterling between 1996 and 1999.

Mr Lowry said he had never received any money from Mr O'Brien or from anyone on his behalf.

He said he or any member of his family did not receive money into their banks accounts from Mr O'Brien.

Speaking about a loan to buy a second home in Dublin, he said he borrowed money to fund the purchase from David Austin. To say the money was connected to Mr O'Brien was not true, he added.

He had loaned the money from Mr Austin, he said, and repaid Mr Austin the full amount of the loan he received with interest.

Rent review

Asked about claims in the report that he had tried to benefit Ben Dunne by having the rent paid by Telecom Éireann on a building owned by Mr Dunne increased, he said Mr Moriarty was 'grasping for straws' by referring to it.

He said he rang Mark Fitzgerald of Sherry Fitzgerald to expedite the rent review. He said there was no politician in the Dáil who would not do the same.

To call the contacts corrupt is 'spurious', he said, and claimed that the judge is totally incorrect.