Garda Commissioner says detectives trying to establish if Michael Lowry tapes represent new material for investigation

Gardaí to engage with key witness

Michael Lowry arriving at the Moriarty Tribunal in 2008. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Michael Lowry arriving at the Moriarty Tribunal in 2008. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Thu, Apr 18, 2013, 06:00

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan has said detectives must fully engage with a key witness before a decision could be made on whether Michael Lowry TD (above) has a case to answer following the emergence of tapes of conversations in which sums of allegedly undeclared money were discussed.

The recordings purport to document an exchange between the north Tipperary independent TD and land agent Kevin Phelan about an alleged undeclared sum of £250,000 owned by Mr Lowry. The recordings emerged in a Sunday newspaper in recent weeks.

Mr Callinan said gardaí had already spoken to Mr Phelan but needed to engage with him in a more meaningful fashion now.

“Obviously the person who has provided the information on the tape has particular views as to the context in which matters arose . . . it’s to tease out precisely what’s been spoken about because a number of these issues have already been dealt with by the [Moriarty] tribunal. So it’s to contextualise what’s being said and to see where we advance matters.”

The Garda was trying to establish if what was on the tapes represented new material for investigation and, if so, if it warranted investigation.

Mr Callinan made his comments at the annual conference of the Association of Garda Superintendents in Co Kildare .