Readers like you keep news free for everyone.

More than 5,000 readers have already pitched in to keep free access to The Journal.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can help keep paywalls away.

Support us today
Not now
Sunday 3 December 2023 Dublin: 0°C
PA Images/Niall Carson
Moriarty Tribunal

€235,368: Lowry's massive payoff if he quits politics

24 years as a TD and two years as a minister will be kind to Michael Lowry’s wallet if he is forced out by the Moriarty findings.

MICHAEL LOWRY WOULD be entitled to almost a quarter of a million euro in pensions and allowances in the next twelve months, if he was ultimately forced to quit his role as a TD.

Parties in both the government and opposition sides of the Dáil have called on Lowry to consider his position in the wake of the publication of the Moriarty Tribunal’s report on Tuesday – which was damning in its criticism of the Tipperary North TD.

Moriarty found that the then-communications minister had been an “insidious and pervasive influence” in the process that awarded the state’s second mobile phone licence to Denis O’Brien’s Esat Digifone – the most lucrative commercial licence awarded in the history of the state.

Though Lowry has insisted he has “done nothing wrong”, and refuses to contemplate stepping down as a member of the Dáil, he may reconsider his position when he realises the full extent of his entitlements.

The 58-year-old, who has been a TD since February 1987, has already clocked up the maximum pensionable time as a TD – and his two decades of interrupted service in the Dáíl would entitle him to an immediate tax-free lump sum of €159,873 as soon as he leaves politics.

On top of that, he would also receive a significant portion of his current annual salary – a handsome €106,582, when inflated for pension purposes – in severance payments over the coming twelve months, receiving €75,495.58 to soften the blow of losing his full-time role.

Together, the two payments mean Lowry could look forward to an income of €235,368.58, before tax, in the twelve months after his retirement – well over twice his current earnings as a backbench TD who does not chair any Oireachtas committees.

In each of the following six years, Lowry’s annual pension would be €53,291 - a total which would be topped by a further €10,429.39, to an annual total of €63,720.39, come March 2018 when the former communications minister turns 65 and is entitled to draw his pension for the two years he served in cabinet.

Given the possibility that Lowry could to be unsuccessful in any attempts to recoup his legal fees from the Tribunal, in light of its findings – and with the possibility that the Tribunal could seek compensation from him because of his apparent role in the Esat licensing process – the extra cash that Lowry would receive in retirement could potentially be crucial in allowing the Thurles-based TD to stave off the threat of bankruptcy.

Irish law dictates that any bankrupt person is not entitled to be a member of the Oireachtas anyway. An Oireachtas spokeswoman confirmed to this evening that any TD resigning in the middle of a term of office is entitled to all the same pensions and allowances as a TD who retires, or is beaten, at a general election.

Tribunal may try to recoup costs from Lowry >

Moriarty’s findings are “grasping at straws”, insists defiant Lowry >