INDEPENDENT TD MICHAEL Lowry has refused to give up his TD seat despite his Dail colleagues passing a motion formally requesting him to resign.
The motion of censure against Lowry was carried without debate in the Dail this morning. Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett reminded the Oireachtas that the motion did not imply criminal guilt or innocence on the part of a deputy and that such a decision was a matter for the courts.
The whips of each of the main Government and Opposition parties had agreed that there would be no debate on the motion but Michael Lowry was offered up to half an hour to make a speech to the House again this morning. He only took up a fraction of that time, reiterating his speeches of the previous two days to say that “the level of scrutiny, inquiry and intrusion” he had been subjected to by the Tribunal “is unprecedented in the history of the State”.
He also accused members of the Oireachtas of not actually reading the findings of Mr Justice Moriarty from the payments to politicians inquiry for themselves. Lowry claimed that his fellow TDs were relying on “soundbites” to form their opinions of the findings. He said:
This report does me and the civil servants involved a serious injustice.
Lowry also claimed that not a day had gone by in the past 14 years where he had not been “abused and villified”. However, he wanted his constituents in North Tipperary to know that he would “continue to serve as a member of this House”.
Before concluding his brief address and the passing of the motion against him, Lowry targeted Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin for what he called “hypocrisy”. He predicted that Fianna Fail and Martin would not come out smelling “of mint” when the “wrappings come off”.
Sinn Fein did not escape his ire either – he directed comments at Mary Lou McDonald, who spoke against him in the Dail yesterday evening, saying he would not be taking lectures from a deputy whose party has in the past, he said, been associated with “murder and mutilation”.
McDonald was seen to shake her head in response to the comments.