Though not as bruising as some of his earlier encounters with officialdom, it continues his fraught relationship with the taxman, a relationship that stretches back to 1993, when he availed of a tax amnesty.
The Moriarty Tribunal’s judgement on Lowry and on his hands-on role in securing a phone licence for Denis O’Brien, whose multi-billion empire was germinated by that transaction, is well-known. That judgement has overshadowed the finding that Lowry sought to facilitate rent increases for a Ben Dunne property let by Telecom Éireann. The tribunal found his intervention was “profoundly corrupt, to a degree that was nothing short of breathtaking”. Those damning conclusions provoked the Dáil to pass an all-party motion calling on Lowry to resign. He did not. He had earlier quit his cabinet post, and Fine Gael had banned him from ever again representing their party. Lowry is expected to top the poll in Tipperary, as he has so often done before. To a neutral observer, this prospect is incomprehensible. To someone who cherishes our democracy, it is simply wrong. It is a tragedy that the people of Tipperary should express whatever it is they are tying to articulate by electing such an unsavoury, unsuitable person to our parliament. They do themselves, and our political process, a great disservice. It is time they grew up and behaved like adults.