Independent South Tipperary TD Seamus Healy said Michael Lowry should resign his Dail seat in view of the “damning” findings of the Moriarty Tribunal Report but his two constituency colleagues have refused to call on the North Tipperary TD to resign and instead criticised the inquiry’s length and cost.
The Workers and Unemployment Action Group leader made his call to the Tipperary North Independent to resign as the Dail debated the Moriarty Report on Tuesday evening as it was announced that the Criminal Assets Bureau was examining Lowry’s financial affairs in light of the report.
But Fine Gael TD Tom Hayes refused to comment on whether he believed his former Fine Gael party colleague should resign his Dail seat as did fellow Independent Mattie McGrath, who lambasted the Moriarty Tribunal as a “farce” and “waste of money”.
Deputy Hayes said the matter had been referred to the DPP and CAB and a debate was taking place in the Dail. “We have to let all that go ahead first before we can say anything,” he said. It was up to the DPP and CAB to investigate and politicians shouldn’t interfere, he added.
When asked what he thought of the Moriarty Tribunal Report, Daputy Hayes replied that it was very disappointing in the sense that the Tribunal had dragged on so long and he didn’t believe the matter had been advanced much further after 14 years at a huge cost and burden to the taxpayer at a time when they should be talking about jobs.
He didn’t wish to comment on the report’s findings in relation to Mr Lowry.
When asked whether Mr Lowry should resign, Deputy Mattie McGrath said he was a fellow independent TD from North Tipperary and he was not going to make any comment at this point and time.
“He is a fellow Tipperary man and he is entitled to his time in the Dail to make his case and people can debate the issues,” said the former Fianna Fail TD, who sat beside Deputy Lowry in the Dail during the Moriarty Report debate.
When asked what he thought of the Moriarty Report’s findings in relation to Mr Lowry, he said he had no interest in the report’s findings as he didn’t have faith in the business of the Tribunal, which was a “farce” and “waste of money” that had enriched members of the legal profession.
He said any issues relating to Mr Lowry’s involvement in the mobile phone licence competition in 1995 should have been referred to the Garda Siochana at that time to investigate. If a crime was committed he would have been charged and the matter resolved much more quickly. Justice delayed was justice denied, he argued.
He questioned how the Tribunal could have taken 14 years to examine one situation and he questioned the whole cost of the inquiry.
“If the law is broken, it should be dealt with by the Gardai and the courts, not making millionaires out of many people as a kind of gravy train. I will be asking many questions about the costs (of the Tribunal).”
Deputy Healy, in contrast, described the Moriarty Report as “very exhaustive” and “very damning” of Michael Lowry. Its implications were so far ranging and went to the very heart of political life and the interface between politicians and business, he said.
The fact that two South Tippeary TD’s refused to call on Deputy Lowry to resign was a matter for themselves, he said.
As a result of the reports findings, he said it was now essential that corporate donations to political parties be banned.