Lowry Criticised in Moriarty Report Published Today

The second and the final report of the Moriarty Tribunal has been published.  The inquiry was established in 1997 to look into the financial affairs of former Taoiseach Charles Haughey and former Fine Gael communications minister Michael Lowry.  The final report gives details on the investigation into possible links between businessman Denis O’Brien and Michael Lowry.  Ireland’s second mobile phone licence was awarded to Denis O’Brien’s Digifone in 1995.  Mr Lowry was Communications Minister when the mobile phone licence was granted.  The report states that it is ‘beyond doubt’ that Michael Lowry imparted substantive information to Denis O’Brien which was ‘of significant value and assistance to him in securing the licence.’

In the two documents that together amount to a staggering 2,400 pages, Justice Michael Moriarty found that Lowry had ‘conferred a benefit on Mr Denis O’Brien, a person who made payments to Mr Lowry, within the meaning of terms of reference.’

The tribunal also found that ‘substantive information was also made available to Mr Lowry who, contrary to his testimony to the Tribunal, was far from being a disinterested Minister whose sole anxiety was to secure a competitor for Eircell’, which at the time was the sole mobile phone operator in Ireland.

Lowry had, rather, ‘exhibited an appreciable curiosity about the substantive process, as it was proceeding, and on a number of occasions sought, and was provided with, information by members of the Project Group’ that had been tasked with identifying the successful bidder for the contract.

It added that ‘in the last three days before the issue’ of the second GSM mobile phone licence to Denis O’Brien’s Esat Digifone consortium in May 1996, ‘There were many meetings between Esat Digifone and the Department of which were was no documentary record or reference on Departmental files, including a meeting between Mr Denis O’Brien and Mr Lowry on Tuesday, 14th May 1996’ – just two days before the report was issued in full.

The general management of Lowry’s personal finances, meanwhile – with the former minister having had up to 19 separate accounts in his name, some of which were offshore.  The Tribunal also discusses remarks made by O’Brien to Barry Moloney about two £100,000 payments – ‘one of which was referable… to Mr Michael Lowry.’

The Tribunal also investigated a $50,000 donation made by Esat to Lowry’s former party, Fine Gael, which had been made by Esat via its Norwegian bidding partner Telenor.

O’Brien has rejected Justice Moriarty’s findings, he said the findings were ‘fundamentally flawed’ and represented Moriarty’s personal opinions.  Michael Lowry has said that the findings were ‘factually wrong and deliberately misleading.’

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!

You must be logged in to post a comment.