MICHAEL LOWRY HAS said he was unfairly victimised by media coverage of his meetings with ministers after the Moriarty Tribunal, describing the reports as “reckless”, “irresponsible”, and “baying for blood”.
The independent Tipperary deputy and former Fine Gael communications minister said he had been the victim of a presumption of guilt, and that his rights had been “trampled on mercilessly” by the media.
He also reiterated criticisms of the Moriarty Tribunal’s final report, saying the finding that he delivered the State’s second mobile phone licence to Denis O’Brien’s Esat Digifone consortium was “completely false”. Lowry noted that the tribunal did not describe him as corrupt.
In a lengthy two-page statement, Lowry said he was “greatly troubled by the extent and nature of reckless and irresponsible comment emanating from various political and media sources”. He continued:
Despite never having been charged with or convicted of any crime in Ireland, I have been roundly condemned as a convicted criminal by the media and by various political opportunists. They wish to strip me of all constitutional rights and basic dignity; both as a public representative and as a citizen.
Lowry denied that he had been the net beneficiary of around €900,000 in transactions covered by the Moriarty Tribunal. “The fact is that absolutely no money accrued to me” from these transactions, he said.
He said he had never been approached by the gardaí or other State agencies in relation to the report’s findings, which he noted had no legal status. Lowry hit out at those who he said were “crawling over one another to stake a claim to the high moral ground” over his case.
The deputy also defended his right of access to Government ministers. “My representational rights and entitlements are constitutional and equal to that of any member of Dáil Eireann,” he said.
Lowry said his rights were derived from his electoral mandate, which has seen him top the poll in Tipperary-South Offaly several times. He said:
I will not tolerate attempts to belittle my constituents by any of the self-appointed beacons of virtue and morality.