…because it was still punts back then.
Michael Lowry TD appeared on Sean O’Rourke’s lunchtime show on RTE Radio One full of pain and hurt.
You see he’s the victim in all this. No, really.
Michael Lowry: “We have had 17 civil servants have had all sort of professional people go before the tribunal and when I read this report I cannot understand why Moriarty would dismiss their evidence and continue to form an opinion based on the theories put forward by the tribunal.”
O’Rourke: “Because, quite simply, he has followed a chain of events. He has drawn his conclusions from at times conflicting evidence and he has reached his conclusions. I mean you’re hardly suggesting, or are you, that this is a work of fiction?”
Lowry: “What I’m saying to you, Seán is that this tribunal has worked to a pre-determined agenda. It has shown no fairness, it has shown no balance. It has been vindictive in its approach and has reported on supposition. It hasn’t reported on facts of evidence.”
O’Rourke: “Well, now, just to – ”
Lowry: “And I would make the point to you, Seán, that Moriarty got it so wrong on several issues in the past that the credibility of his report is in question. His final report, this final report, is blatantly and disgracefully wrong in its opinions. His opinions are not -“
O’Rourke: “But sure that’s a bit like if I were to say to you that because you lied in the Dáil about your offshore accounts, you can’t be believed in anything you say now”
Lowry: “And you know I didn’t lie in the Dáil and I that’s the spin that you and others in the media put on it”
O’Rourke: “Well you said if somebody wanted to hide money they’d have offshore accounts. That’s what you said, and you had four of them at the time.”
O’Rourke: “You say that the judge has shown contempt for the sworn evidence of senior civil servants and respected politicians. Do you consider yourself now Michael Lowry to be a respected politician, respected among your peers in Leinster house?”
Lowry: “Yes I’m, as far as I’m concerned I have conducted my business as a minister back in those years which is 15 years ago, I conducted myself in an appropriate way. I did nothing improper. I did not interfere in any process, eh, unduly, and I simply allowed”
O’Rourke: “Why are you using the word unduly?”
Lowry: “I, I’m using the word unduly because as a minister of the day every minister is entitled to know the progress and the timescales involved in the process. I was entitled to know that, I sought that information. The government had made a policy decision to bring competition to the mobile telephony sector. Of course as a minister I was anxious to ensure that that policy decision was driven and that it would come in on time. That was my involvement.”
O’Rourke: “I deliberately concentrated, Michael Lowry, on the process dimension. The second thing is whether you got money. We don’t have much time but presumably you would want to reiterate that you never got a bob from Denis O’Brien?”
Lowry: “I have to say. I want to say this and I want to say it clearly and unequivocally, that it is a fact that no money was ever received by me from Denis O’Brien of from anybody associated with him. The Moriarty tribunal has engaged in a cynical exercise in presenting two English and one Irish property transaction in a slanted and incomplete manner -”
O’Rourke: “And -”
Lowry: “To give the impression that I gained financially from those transactions when the opposite is the case.”
O’Rourke: “And do you believe –”
Lowry: “I didn’t. Seán, this is important. I didn’t gain one cent from those transactions, not one cent.”
O’Rourke: “And do you share –”
Lowry: “And what Moriarty should have done if he was doing his job properly and if he was being fair, what he would have done is he’s have followed the money trail and the money trail would have shown him clearly that Michael Lowry got nothing from those transactions.”
O’Rourke: “Do you share Denis O’Brien’s view that Michael Moriarty is being protected by fellow members of the judiciary?
Lowry: “I, well, look, I don’t share that view. The view that I would share is this: that no high court judge should be involved in chairing a tribunal. I would have to say after the debacle of this tribunal, lasting 14 years, squandering public money over a 14-year- period, barristers having their bank accounts stuffed at an average of €45,000 a month and becoming millionaires, I think this is the last of the tribunals. I’ll be the last person that will have to endure this kind of Chinese torture through a tribunal….”