What was the point of the Moriarty Tribunal anyway?

A motion calling on Independent TD Michael Lowry to voluntarily resign his membership of Dáil Éireann has been passed without a vote. However, the obstinate North Tipperary TD has said he will continue to serve his constituents. He remains adamant that he is not a criminal, despite the findings of the Moriarty Tribunal.

“The Dáil believes the conduct of Michael Lowry set out in the tribunal report was completely unacceptable and calls on Deputy Lowry to resign voluntarily his membership of Dáil Éireann,” the motion read.

The fact of the matter is Deputy Lowry has not been charged with or convicted of any offence, although the matter is now before the DPP and Criminal Assets Bureau.

The man is either extremely arrogant or completely innocent, but either way he has no friends left in the Dáil.

It is incredible that 14 years later and after a quarter of a billion euro was spent on investigating the awarding of the country’s second mobile phone licence, the findings of the report will not bring those at the centre of it to justice. So what was the point? Why weren’t the gardaí just asked to investigate the sorry mess and the courts asked to come to a conclusion?

Mr Justice Michael Moriarty said the tribunal had been misled and frustrated throughout, yet Dep Lowry claims the 2,000-plus page report is based on opinion and not fact.

Only time will tell if Dep Lowry will ever see the inside of a jail cell or if he will in fact be vindicated following further investigations.

Whatever happens it seems incredible also that many of the TDs who voted for Dep Lowry’s resignation have not yet read the report.

I have not read it either, so I am not in a position to cast aspersions on Dep Lowry’s character.

Maybe something as simple as a lie detector test could be employed in this case to sort out the lies from the half truths.

Or the people of North Tipperary could be asked to vote again. It is they who put Dep Lowry into the Dáil and maybe they should be asked whether or not they want to keep him there. That is as long as he hasn’t been found guilty of any offence.

There is one Mayo man though who could bring some closure to this whole sorry debacle. District Court Judge and former TD Seamus Hughes is making headlines in Athlone for not holding back in his courtroom comments.

Last week Judge Hughes held up the payment of legal aid to three unemployed men charged with dealing heroin after it was found the value of heroin was greater than their weekly dole payment. He told one drug dealer he was “an evil person” and that he would take “considerable pleasure” in sending him to prison.

Judge Hughes hit the headlines again this week when he suggested it would take a Mayo man (not himself but the “venerable Padraig Nally” ) to put a stop to farmyard robberies when faced with such a case in his courtroom.

It is that kind of straight talking that is needed now in this country and less of the tribunals of enquiry that take far too long and have little meaning in the end.


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