Taoiseach says motion of censure agreed

 

AN AGREED all-party motion of censure against former minister Michael Lowry will be put to the Dáil today without any discussion, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has confirmed.

As the two-day debate on the Moriarty report into the awarding of the State’s second mobile phone licence came to an end yesterday evening, Mr Kenny told the House that a motion had been agreed and would be put to the Dáil without debate. It is the first item of business in the Dáil today.

During the question-and-answer session at the end of the debate, Michael Lowry said he had “no objection” to a motion of censure being taken, given a report “based on opinions”. He warned however that the House should not “prejudice my position as a member of this House and as a previous minister” or “prejudice in any way the action that I may take at a future date”.

Earlier, during Leaders’ Questions, Mr Kenny said he found the “actions and indictment” of Mr Lowry in the report “to be certainly conduct most unbecoming of a public representative in this House. I have said that on many occasions.

“If we lived in an ideal world, Deputy Lowry would not be here but we do not live in that ideal world and I cannot speak” and nor could Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin “for the electorate of Tipperary North or any other constituency in the country”.

He was responding to Mr Martin, who had asked him if he accepted the report’s findings.

Mr Martin accused Mr Kenny of “ambivalence and equivocation” in relation to Mr Lowry. He said it was “extraordinary” that Mr Kenny had not yet said he accepted the findings of the Moriarty tribunal.

Mr Martin said Mr Kenny “did not make a single statement concerning the actions and handling of the awarding of the mobile telephone licence by Fine Gael and the government in 1995.

Mr Kenny said the Fianna Fáil leader’s “arrogance knows no bounds” adding that “Mr Lowry and others had secret deals” with Fianna Fáil, which the party refused to publish.

Mr Kenny stressed that he had previously said “without any ambivalence” that he was “somewhat constrained because of the legal cases pending out of the Moriarty tribunal”.

Mr Martin asked Mr Kenny if he would agree to Fianna Fáil’s motion of censure which the party had circulated yesterday. Mr Kenny said he would give consideration to a motion of censure, but said that such a motion had no “constitutional authority”.

Mr Martin said a motion of censure made “very clear the unanimous position of the Dáil with regard to the behaviour of Deputy Lowry as outlined by the Moriarty tribunal”.

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams asked if Mr Kenny would accept his party’s motion of censure, which was on the Dáil order paper, which lists forthcoming business in the House and to deal with it in Government time. The motion states: “That Dáil Éireann, in view of the findings of the Moriarty tribunal, censures Deputy Michael Lowry, noting that his behaviour was totally unbecoming for a member of this House.”

Mr Kenny said it was a “very straightforward motion of censure” and he found “nothing wrong” with it. He had to consider the implications of a motion of censure “in respect of legal cases that are pending”.

During the debate on the report Eoghan Murphy (FG) called for the Dáil to consider a referendum “to allow this House to expel one of its own”.