Michael Lowry describes outcome of his trial as ‘a fantastic result’

Independent TD Michael Lowry from Tipperary has been fined €15,000 and his refrigeration company Garuda has been fined €10,000 after being found guilty of a tax offence and failing to keep proper books of account. Video: Colm Keena

 

The Tipperary TD Michael Lowry, speaking outside the Criminal Courts of Justice after being convicted of two tax offences, said he had come to the building as a free man and was leaving it a free man.

He described the outcome of the trial, which saw him being fined €15,000 and restricted from operating as a company director for three years, and his company, Garuda, being fined €10,000, as a “fantastic result”.

He said the people of Tipperary had been “so loyal and steadfast in their support for me during 22 years of absolute turmoil”.

This was a reference to investigations into his and Garuda’s affairs that stretch back to when he resigned from cabinet in 1996 because of revelations about controversial payments to him and Garuda by Dunnes Stores and Ben Dunne.

Referring to the comments made by Judge Martin Nolan when deciding on sentence, Mr Lowry said that to hear the judge saying that he was a “conscientious taxpayer, that I’m a good public representative, that I’m a good employer, and that I saved my company by remortgaging my house when it was in difficulty, what more could I ask for.”

Mr Lowry said he had been through a very traumatic time and that he had been pilloried and vilified, “at times it was humiliating”,but “today is the culmination of 22 years of investigations and inquiries.”

There had been six different investigations over the years. It had been “non-stop full stop for 22 years.” He now looked forward to getting back to “my people in Tipperary” and to enjoying the fact that “I am no longer under investigation and the end has arrived”.

He said those who had been writing about him had to acknowledge that today was for him “a huge day in my life”.

He had been “harassed, chased and hounded by various institutions of the state”. It was only when you were in that position that you could understand what he had been through.

“Fortunately I had the strength, the courage and the conviction.” The reason for this was that he knew in his heart and his head that he hadn’t done the kind of wrongs that were being portrayed.

Referring to a charge that was withdrawn during the trial, he said the allegation that he owed €1 million in tax had been shown to be false.

He was brought to the court by the Revenue. “Now this is a special, criminal court, and all of you know the type of cases that are heard and dealt with in this court. My case should never have been heard in Dublin.”

His case, he said, concerned a technical problem that should have been dealt with locally at District Court level. “What business had they bringing me here to the special, criminal court in Dublin? None. None. And that has been proven.”

Asked by a reporter if he wanted to address the fact that he had just been found guilty of two offences, Mr Lowry said that the reporter, if she read the charges, “which you probably haven’t done”, would see that one of the charges brought against him had said he owed the Revenue €1 million was struck out, because it wasn’t factual.

Asked again by another reporter to address his conviction on two counts, Mr Lowry said the best thing that could be done was to read the judge’s summation.

“If you’re able to finish reading that, then I think you’ll have your answer.”