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Kenny Not Reopening Moriarty Over Lowry Tape

Nora Owen, Michael Lowry, Michael Noonan, & John Bruton visiting Thurles in better times.

Nora Owen, Michael Lowry, Michael Noonan, & Former Taoiseach John Bruton visiting Thurles in better times.

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny has once again ruled out a request to the Moriarty Tribunal to examine the financial transactions of Independent North Tipperary TD Michael Lowry, following the recent controversy that has become publicly labelled “The Lowry Tapes.”

The Lowry Tape Narrative

On Feb 24th, the Sunday Independent published a transcript of a phone conversation that reportedly took place between North Tipperary TD Mr Michael Lowry and a Northern Ireland land agent, Mr Kevin Phelan. The reported taped conversation which was recorded from a date back in 2004, had been recorded without Mr Lowry’s knowledge and during a time when the Moriarty Tribunal was investigating Mr Lowry’s financial relationship with a businessman Mr Denis O’Brien.

This facet of the tribunal were then enquiring into whether Mr Lowry had interfered in the awarding of a second mobile phone licence in 1995, while he then served as Minister for Communications in a Fine Gael led government. Land agent Mr Kevin Phelan, who appears to have been involved with both business men, refused to travel from his home in Northern Ireland, to give requested evidence at this enquiry.

Early in 2013, following a disagreement with Mr Lowry, Mr Phelan reportedly conveyed this taped conversation to a journalist M/s Elaine Byrne, which the former claimed was this same recorded phone conversation, the transcript of which was later published by the Sunday Independent.

A recording of the Independent TD discussing a sum of £250,000 ( Sterling ) now emerged on this tape recording, released after the tribunal had already issued its final report.

Labour Party TD Kevin Humphreys who works for the constituency of Dublin South East, believes that the present Government, of which he is a member, should now ask the Moriarty Tribunal if it had already assessed this sum referred or if this was new money, not previously examined.  While Mr Kenny said he understood fully Mr Humphrey’s concerns, he would not reopen the tribunal to deal with this new issue, stating that Gardaí were examining it, but it wasn’t for him to comment further or indeed reopen the Tribunal in question.

The present Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan stated last month that detectives must fully engage with “a key witness,” before a decision could be taken regarding whether Mr Lowry had indeed any case to answer.

Deputy Lowry has claimed that the payment discussed in this taped conversation, was indeed fully tax compliant.

Photo courtesy G.Willoughby

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