Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Disgraced TD condemns opposition

Independent TD Michael Lowry has again insisted he will not quit the Dail

Disgraced TD Michael Lowry has responded to a formal cross-party reprimand from the Dail with a withering attack on opposition TDs.

The Independent deputy has defiantly refused to resign his seat despite a censure motion urging him to step down over the damning Moriarty Tribunal report.

The motion was passed by the House without a vote, but it cannot force the North Tipperary poll-topper to quit and will be a mark against his name only.

In his third address to TDs in three days, Mr Lowry called on Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore to ensure any garda investigations into the inquiry's findings be completed quickly.

He said: "How long more am I expected to withstand this kind of scrutiny? How long more am I expected to stand up without any support or assistance to defend myself, legally, or any other way? I'm asking you to ensure, and the Minister for Justice to ensure, that whatever garda inquiry is to take place, that it be done expeditiously and that it be brought to an end."

The tribunal found Mr Lowry passed classified information on the competition for the state's second mobile phone licence to billionaire businessman Denis O'Brien.

Mr O'Brien's successful bid made him his fortune and Mr Lowry, who has repeatedly rejected the conclusions, was found to have received payments worth more than 910,450 euro in secret off-shore transactions and loans.

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan revealed last week that Criminal Assets Bureau chief officer Eugene Corcoran is examining Judge Moriarty's findings to see if a criminal investigation is warranted.

During the two-day debate Mr Lowry spoke over two occasions for nearly an hour-and-a-half in total, attacking the tribunal, Mr Justice Moriarty and insisting he will not bow to demands for him to resign.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny on Wednesday announced the motion would be held without debate, but Cathaoirleach Sean Barrett allowed Mr Lowry the opportunity to speak again despite objections from Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin and Sinn Fein's Mary Lou McDonald.

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