We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland
Day in court

Lowry granted appeal plea as lawyers argue he's been 'portrayed as sexist'

The Independent TD is facing four charges of filing false tax returns.

Updated 3.35pm 

INDEPENDENT TD MICHAEL Lowry has been granted leave to apply for a judicial review of the charges he faces over allegedly filing false tax returns.

The Tipperary North TD is charged with four counts of allegedly filing incorrect tax returns in 2003 and 2007 but is attempting to prevent a trial from going ahead.

Patrick Treacy SC for Lowry had argued for a review on six grounds.

These included an argument that the recent controversy surrounding the note he handed to the Taoiseach could prejudice potential jurors, fifty per cent of whom would be female.

In articles following the controversy, Treacy said that Lowry “is portrayed as a person who is sexist or who is derogatory towards women or who has a sexist attitude towards women.”

In the note to Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Lowry had asked him to reappoint Valerie O’Reilly to the board of the National Transport Authority. He ended the note by saying that O’Reilly is “not bad looking either!”

The note and the fallout from it was given “enormous coverage across television, radio, internet and print media,” said Treacy.

Sunday Independent

Lowry’s counsel accused the Sunday Independent, which published the note, and the Oireachtas member who took the note and passed it to the newspaper of “wrongful intermeddling in the criminal process”.

He added that it “isn’t relevant at all” who gave the note to the newspaper but that “certain parties” had “orchestrated matters to make sure that it was published in the Sunday Independent.”

Specifically, he argued that the note was passed to the media on Wednesday and was not published until Sunday.

“I’m trying to show there is a specific concerted campaign by the newspaper,” Treacy said.

He made reference to other articles published by the newspaper including the ‘Lowry tapes’ series in 2013.

Despite this criticism, Treacy said that Lowry “is not entitled to be wrapped up in cotton wool”.

Recent criticism of the number of speeches the deputy has made in the Dáil are “perfectly justifiable” and he is “perfectly able to defend himself.”

Lowry ‘delighted’

Lowry was present in court for the proceedings but will likely not have to appear in court again until the review hearing on 17 February.

He denies the charges and has said he will “vigorously defend” what he calls an “exceptionally selective and unfair prosecution”.

The trial had been listed for mention before Dublin Circuit Criminal Court tomorrow.

The State submitted a request to have the trial moved from Tipperary to Dublin in July – claiming that Lowry’s voter base in his home county could bring about biased juries.

Justice Seamus Noonan said the decision to grant leave to apply for a judicial review does not mean that the grounds are acceptable, but rather that they are arguable.

Reacting to the decision today, Lowry told Tipp FM in a text message that it was a “great first break in this saga” and added that he was “delighted with this significant, emphatic decision”.

Read: Michael Lowry: Labour leaked note with ‘malicious intent’ >

Read: Michael Lowry charged with three counts of filing false tax returns >

Readers like you are keeping these stories free for everyone...
A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article. Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.