Lowry to fight tribunal costs ruling

Michael Lowry has accused the Moriarty Tribunal of trying to punish him after it refused to pay a greater portion of his legal bill.

The Independent TD has said he is going to challenge this week’s costs ruling in the High Court.

He has been told by the tribunal that it will only cover 33% of his 15-year legal bill on the grounds that he misled its work.

Mr Lowry said the tribunal made its decision based on its impression that he frustrated the inquiry, concealed evidence, and helped doctor documents.

He said there was no evidence to back up the tribunal’s claims and that he would mount a legal challenge.

“This latest Moriarty Tribunal costs order, denying part of my costs, changes everything legally, because the tribunal is seeking to now impose an actual punitive, financial consequence on me,” said Mr Lowry.

“I am advised that a tribunal has no power or right in law to do this, particularly where the tribunal is not basing its findings on evidence and where the Supreme Court has already ruled that tribunals cannot make decisions with actual legal and punitive consequences.”

Mr Lowry said the tribunal had decided he had been involved in the falsification of a solicitor’s file in England.

This, he said, was “a total fabrication and not substantiated by a shred of sworn evidence from any witness”.

According a statement on his website, Mr Lowry has also been penalised for the evidence he provided in relation to the property he co-owns in Wigan.

He said there was nothing irregular about the £65,000 his company, Vineacre, paid to the land agent Kevin Phelan for his work sourcing the Wigan land.

Mr Lowry discussed the fee and said solicitors in England confirmed Mr Phelan had earned the money and “the fee was agreed by all of the shareholders as being properly due and was accordingly paid through the solicitors”.

Last night’s statement did not discuss the additional £247,000 he paid to Mr Phelan in relation to the Wigan project. It was never disclosed to the tribunal and only came to light this year with the publication of secretly recorded phone conversations.

Mr Lowry is already facing a €1m legal claim from his longtime accountants, BBT, on top of the costs incurred in relation to his legal team.

In 2010, Mr Lowry pleaded with the tribunal to forward him an interim payment so he could settle some of his accounts with his solicitors and address a “crippling financial burden”.

At the time, he said he was under “enormous pressure” and for the first time resorted to the writing to the tribunal chairman to ask him for assistance.


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