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Half the country thinks Enda should steer clear of Michael Lowry

A new poll shows the electorate isn’t happy with the idea of the controversial Tipperary TD doing a deal with the government.

DENIS O'BRIEN Michael Lowry shaking hands with Denis O'Brien in 1997 Source: Eamonn Farrell/Rollingnews.ie

ALMOST HALF OF Irish people think Enda Kenny should rule out relying on Michael Lowry’s support in the formation of a new government.

The findings of the latest Amárach poll for Claire Byrne Live show that 47% of all respondents think that the Taoiseach should rule out the possibility of Fine Gael doing business with its former deputy.

19% of respondents said that there is no need to rule out such a move, while 34% said that they don’t know.

The men polled seem to be more averse to the idea of a Fine Gael deal with Lowry – with 51% of men saying that Kenny should rule out the notion and 43% of women saying the same.

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Opposition to a deal is at its highest in Leinster (outside Dublin) with 54% of that area saying that a deal should be ruled out.

On Lowry’s home turf of Munster the figure is 43%.

At Fine Gael’s Ard Fheis last weekend the Taoiseach declined to rule out a deal with Lowry, should such a move be necessary, when asked repeatedly by journalists.

In total, Kenny was asked 11 times throughout the course of the weekend to rule out a deal with his former cabinet colleague. He declined to do so.

Earlier today Lowry told RTÉ he would make any decision regarding a new government in the best interests of the Irish people.

A former Fine Gael minister 

Lowry is a former Fine Gael minister, but he left the party in 1996 in controversial circumstances after the McCracken Tribunal concluded that he had evaded tax.

He has also faced consistent allegations of irregularities in the awarding of the state’s second mobile phone licence to Denis O’Brien’s Esat Telecom.

In 2011, the Moriarty Tribunal found that Lowry had an “insidious and pervasive” influence on the bidding process. Lowry has rejected the findings.

He is currently facing charges of filing incorrect turns but is seeking to have the case thrown out, with his lawyers recently telling the High Court that the prosecution is unfair, unjust, fundamentally oppressive, and should be halted.

He has been ever-present in Dáil Éireann since 1987, and topped the poll as an independent in his Tipperary constituency in the last general election.

- Additional reporting from Hugh O’Connell 

The poll was conducted by Amárach Research on Monday, 11 January. The survey panel comprises more than 1,000 adults who all own a smartphone. More details here

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