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Thursday 7 December 2023 Dublin: 9°C
Julien Behal/PA Wire A defiant Michael Lowry, standing at the plinth of Leinster House this evening, refusing to resign his seat as a TD.
Moriarty Tribunal

Michael Lowry: Nobody will decide when I leave the Dáil

The Tipperary North TD says he has no intention of quitting – and wants to take Tribunal questions in the Dáil tomorrow.

MICHAEL LOWRY HAS insisted that he has no intention of quitting his seat in the Dáil – and has offered to answer questions on the Dáil record from TDs querying his role in the Esat mobile phone licence.

Speaking to reporters outside Leinster House this evening, the embattled Tipperary North TD again dismissed calls for him to resign his seat in the wake of last week’s publication of the Moriarty Tribunal report, which found Lowry had “delivered” the result of the bidding process for Ireland’s second mobile phone licence to Esat in 1996.

“Nobody will decide when I will leave this house,” a defiant Lowry asserted. “Michael Lowry is not going anywhere.”

The Thurles-based TD – who was returned with a first preference vote of over 14,000 just last month – said he had faced fourteen years of “accusation and innuendo” because of the Tribunal’s operations.

Lowry said he had read the Tribunal’s findings over the weekend, and that “the more I read them, the more incensed I am that any person could put findings such as this on paper without evidence to back them up.

“I want, tomorrow, the opportunity to give my critical analysis to the manner in which this tribunal conducted itself, and to the manner in which it came to findings which are not substantiated in an evidentiary trail”, Lowry said, again characterising the findings as “the opinions of one individual”.

Confirming that he had asked the Fine Gael-Labour government to allot him 50 minutes to make a statement to the Dáil in this week’s debates on the tribunal findings, Lowry said he wished to answer questions with “clarity and precision”.

This evening government chief whip Paul Kehoe told RTÉ News that Lowry would be given two opportunities to speak to the Dáil on the subject; he will make a personal statement tomorrow, when the debate on the report’s findings begins at around 5pm, and another chance to speak on Wednesday after a question-and-answer session with communications minister Pat Rabbitte.

The government benches had offered Lowry 30 minutes’ speaking time, after initially offering just 20. Lowry was one of three independent TDs who did not join the Dáil’s technical group, and instead is reliant on the government benches to guarantee speaking time in the house.

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

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