Lowry supporters gather in Thurles

Thursday 24 March 2011 23.06
Esat Digifone - Two consortiums lost out in licence bid
Esat Digifone - Two consortiums lost out in licence bid

Around 250 supporters of Michael Lowry have turned out at a gathering in Thurles this evening.

The crowd was made up of supporters and canvassers as well as many of his team workers in the constituency.

Many in the room have said they were there to support Michael Lowry in the wake of the publication of the Moriarty Tribunal's final report.

They said they believed his support in the constituency is steadfast and will remain so.

They completely dismissed calls by Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore for Mr Lowry's resignation.

Earlier, Minister for Justice Alan Shatter described as 'very serious' the report.

He said Taoiseach Enda Kenny 'rightly' made the decision 'very rapidly' to refer the report to the Garda Commissioner and the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Minister Shatter said he did not wish to make any comment that would 'prejudice matters', given his position as Justice Minister.

He was speaking at Stormont this afternoon following a meeting with his Northern Ireland counterpart David Ford.

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan also attended today's meeting along with PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott.

Commissioner Callinan said the Moriarty report would be examined with a view to establishing whether or not there are any criminal offences disclosed.

He added that it would be 'premature' at this stage to indicate that a criminal investigation is to take place.

Mr Kenny has said Mr Lowry should resign his Dáil seat in 'an ideal world', however he added 'but we don't live in an ideal world'.

Mr Kenny was speaking as he arrived for a summit of EU leaders in Brussels.

He said the issues in the Moriarty Tribunal would have been better resolved by a Dáil Committee if the problems caused by the Abbeylara case had been resolved 'before now'.

State very anxious appeals be heard

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has been told that the State is very anxious that appeals being taken by two of the consortiums which lost out to Esat Digifone for the country's second mobile phone licence be heard as soon as possible.

Four years ago, the High Court dismissed challenges by the Persona Consortium and Comcast International Holdings to the manner in which the licence was allocated in 1995.

The court ruled there had been inordinate and inexcusable delay in bringing their actions.

The matters were listed before the Supreme Court today at the request of lawyers for the State.

Chief Justice John Murray was told there had been no movement on the appeal by Persona since April 2008.

Senior Counsel John O'Donnell for the State asked the court to give the appeals priority, given the importance of the case.

The Chief Justice said that the Supreme Court was under pressure with many cases waiting to get on.

He ruled that both appellants must lodge submissions within four weeks and the State would have a further four weeks to reply.

The matter of giving the appeals priority would then be considered again.