Independent TD Michael Lowry is facing another legal bill over his failed bid to get a High Court order that the Moriarity Tribunal pay millions of euro for the legal costs of his participation in that inquiry.
Mr Lowry is appealing the decision made last month by Mr Justice John Hedigan, the court heard yesterday. The judge rejected arguments by Mr Lowry’s lawyers that there be no order as to the costs of his High Court challenge or, alternatively, that he only make a contribution to those costs.
Mr Lowry had only been awarded one third of his tribunal costs. In his challenge, he argued he should get full costs — which he says will run into millions — because he had co-operated in the inquiry.
Mr Justice Hedigan found that as result of Mr Lowry’s conduct, the tribunal was frustrated, misled, and its work protracted significantly.
When the matter returned before the judge, his lawyer argued the no costs order — meaning both sides pay their own bills — should be made because the case had been brought in the public interest, as well as in his private interest.
The tribunal sought the normal order that the winner is awarded costs.
Mr Justice Hedigan said this was clearly a case in the interests of Mr Lowry himself “and for very good reason that there are substantial amounts of money involved”.
He failed to see any great point of law in his case which was decided on fairly obvious principles and largely on the facts.
The issue of whether something raises a matter of public law importance had been very clearly outlined by the Supreme Court and it was obvious Mr Lowry’s case did not fall into that category, he said.
The Moriarty Tribunal was set up in 1997 to investigate payments to Mr Lowry, a former Fine Gael minister for communications, and the late former taoiseach Charles Haughey.
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