Lowry Accuses Tribunal Counsel of Discriminating Behaviour
Michael Lowry released the statement below in the last hour, he’s airing some grievences about how he feels the Moriarty Tribunal is operating. Nobody seems to have done anything with it yet – maybe for reasons I am not aware of – the statement itself is fairly defensive.
The reporting around the Moriarty Tribunal is subject to an unusual court injunction and thus it is not making many front pages. Mark Tighe of The Sunday Times (and formerly an Irish Election contributor, no less…) has a good post on his blog about how farcical the situation has become regards reporting. Certain journalists were given the tribunals preliminary findings in November 2008 but still cannot report on some aspects included.
Comments will be closely watched on this one. I’ll be back to try and add some context as I get the time to do so. Any journalists reading who want to get in contact can do so via irishelection[at]gmail[dot]com, alternatively my personal email address is coughlanmp[at]gmail[dot]com.
Statement of Michael Lowry TD re Moriarty Tribunal/UK Properties
Lowry Accuses Tribunal Counsel of Discriminating Behaviour
Immediate Release: 26th June 2009
Over the past number of days the Moriarty Tribunal has been hearing evidence from UK solicitor Mr. Christopher Vaughan in relation to three separate property transactions that took place in England over ten years ago. I am extremely concerned by the manner in which the Tribunal Counsel has sought to selectively present this material in public. The biased, unbalanced, discriminatory presentation and questioning by the Tribunal has been widely reported on in the media.
I am most aggrieved by the Tribunal’s repeated refusal to present the full facts as they exist to the Irish public. By refusing to properly put forward the true facts and by selectively presenting materials in an unfair fashion in order to suit its own ends, the Tribunal has created a public perception that I was the beneficiary of some undefined payment from these property transactions. These assertions by Tribunal Counsel have absolutely no substance or basis. I never received a single red cent out of any of those transactions. That fact is known to the Tribunal and easily capable of verification.
What the Tribunal Counsel has done over the past week is to put forward numerous, far fetched hypothesis or theories to Mr. Vaughan. These theories have gained currency in the media. Accordingly I feel compelled to set out the true facts as they exist and which are well known by the Tribunal. I do so by reference to the three individual properties:
The Tribunal had heard lengthy and extremely detailed evidence from thirteen witnesses in this matter including from three UK based solicitors. Every single one of those thirteen witnesses who have given evidence before the Tribunal have confirmed under oath that I had no hand, act or part in this transaction. The Tribunal Counsel despite its very best efforts over many years has failed to secure a shred of actual evidence that I had anything to do with the purchase of Doncaster Rovers. The simple fact is that I did not.
Extensive evidence has been given by myself and others that I was involved in the purchase of a property in Cheadle. However, due to my inability to progress this purchase I had no option other than to withdraw from the transaction. I legally exited the transaction and forfeited any right or entitlement in that property. The Tribunal Counsel has by its own description been involved in pursuing a money trail with a view towards establishing that I secured undefined financial benefit from this transaction. What the Tribunal has repeatedly failed to explain at its public sittings is that it has been in possession of factual confirmation that this property was sold a number of years ago in a legitimate, legally documented sale which had nothing whatever to do with me. 100% of the proceeds of the sale were retained by the owner of the Cheadle property Mr. Aidan Phelan and disbursed personally by him to his own ends. I did not receive nor was I entitled to a single penny from the proceeds of that sale. It is an undisputed fact that I received absolutely nothing out of the Cheadle property. It is a disgrace that the Tribunal Counsel would refuse to put this hugely important fact into the public domain. It is most unfortunate that the Tribunal legal team has consistently refused to acknowledge that overriding fact and has instead sought to compile the theory that I continued to be involved in Cheadle.
I paid a deposit of Stg£25,000 on this property in 1999 which represented 10% of the full value of the property. Even the Tribunal accepts that this Stg£25k came from my own personal funds. To this day I retain 10% of the beneficial ownership of the property with the remaining 90% being held by Mr. Aidan Phelan. This joint holding was carried out on foot of an executed joint venture agreement between myself and Mr. Phelan. Unfortunately the value of the property has greatly diminished since then. Far from deriving a benefit from Mansfield I am incurring a loss on my own modest investment.
It is extremely regrettable that the Tribunal Counsel has sought to misrepresent the true details surrounding these matters. The simple fact is that it can be objectively proven beyond any doubt that I have not received any money out of any of these UK property deals which have so fascinated the Tribunal. The Tribunal knows this. My sole remaining interest in these UK properties is 10% of a derelict farm in Mansfield which has turned out to have been a very ill advised investment in financial terms.
In my evidence before the Tribunal and in public comments I have consistently acknowledged my documented involvement in properties at Mansfield and Cheadle. In respect of Doncaster Rovers I have categorically refuted Tribunal Counsel suggestions of any financial interest in this property. I have repeatedly stated that I never had at any stage had a material or beneficial interest in this transaction. This fact has been corroborated by every key witness to this project.
Contrary to the impression created by Tribunal Counsel I have not or will not gain financial benefit from these much publicised transactions.