Belfast Telegraph

Lowry 'no intention' of resigning

Shamed former minister Michael Lowry has defied calls to quit politics for helping a billionaire businessman secure the mobile phone licence that made his fortune.

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore led demands for the Independent TD's resignation from the Dail for tipping-off media and telecoms tycoon Denis O'Brien about the bid process and taking secret payments.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny ordered findings on the scandal be assessed by the Director of Public Prosecutions and Garda Commissioner for possible charges.

In a second withering attack on inquiry chief Judge Michael Moriarty, Mr O'Brien said he wanted the report examined by the top criminal investigators and prosecutors "the sooner the better".

"This referral by An Taoiseach is most welcome as I believe the desperately-flawed nature and troubling modus operandi of the Moriarty Tribunal will be quickly laid bare when subjected to an independent examination by a proper authority," the billionaire said.

"The Office of the DPP (like any proper legal authority) will not concern itself with self-serving supposition, hearsay, rumour and biased opinion."

Amid calls to resign from politics, Tipperary poll-topper Mr Lowry said: "I've not the slightest intention of doing that. I have absolutely done nothing wrong."

Mr Lowry, who quit the government and Fine Gael in 1996 over a tax dodge, was found to have received a string of secret payments from Mr O'Brien through off-shore banks, accounts in associates' names and loans following the granting of the mobile licence.

The tribunal found monies were used to fund property deals in Dublin and England.

The 14-year inquiry, which cost about 150 million euro, said that Mr Lowry had passed classified information to Mr O'Brien about the state of his Esat Digifone bid at sensitive stages in the competition process.


From Belfast Telegraph