It centred on a 12 minutes 42 seconds phone call between the former Fine Gael Minister and Phelan, during which they discussed a sterling sum of £200,000 – £250,000 which the Sunday Independent says Lowry said he paid to Phelan, but said during the call: “I never declared it”.
The Moriarty Tribunal covered the investigation of payments to Lowry, whose company Garuda paid up to €1.2 million after a Revenue audit, while he also paid €200,000 in respect of settling his personal taxes.
This evening, Lowry released a statement about what he described as “extensive coverage of an alleged taped telephone conversation”.
My business dealings have been the subject of intense scrutiny over a prolonged period leading to several false and inaccurate reviews.
The payment referred to in the Sunday Independent was made by my company, Garuda Limited, on my behalf. That transaction was properly recorded and accounted for in the records and accounts of Garuda Limited. The payment referred to is fully tax compliant.
A deal made by Phelan on the sale of Doncaster Rovers was discussed during the tribunal, but it made limited findings on it due to the “suppression” of evidence, the paper says.
According to Lowry, the register at the UK Land Registry and company records “clearly show that I never had any direct or indirect shareholding or beneficial interest in Doncaster Rovers or its associated companies”.
I also confirm that I never had any material or beneficial interest in ‘Glebe Trust’.
The authors of the article said they had made multiple attempts to contact Lowry by text, phone calls, email and Facebook messages. Lowry said that he received no documentation on this matter before he left his Dáil office on Thursday.
I was un-contactable as I was travelling over the weekend. My constituency office is closed on a Saturday. The stake out at my property on Saturday and the incursion onto my private property was pointless.
The authors also said the paper handed over a copy of the recording and other documents and recordings to officers from the CAB.
Fianna Fáil Communications Spokesperson Michael Moynihan has called on the Dáil Deputy and former Fine Gael Minister Michael Lowry to quickly clarify the issues arising from the story.
Deputy Moynihan also called for the recording at the centre of the story to be forwarded to Judge Moriarty for examination.
Complaints had been lodged after an investigation by the Irish Examiner discovered that he was the part-owner of land in Wigan which, at the time, was not listed as part of his declaration of interests.
Last Tuesday, however, Lowry added the land – which he maintained was still of “negligible value” – to his Register of Dáil Interests in response to “wildly inaccurate speculation regarding its value.”
A decision on whether the near-300 complaints will be referred to the Members’ Interests Committee of Dáil Éireann is pending legal advice, however.
Responding to TheJournal.ie, the spokesperson said:
Following further consideration the Clerk of the Dáil is seeking legal advice on the matter. Accordingly the Clerk of the Dáil is not in a position to make a decision at this stage as to whether the complaints should be referred to the Committee on Members’ Interests . He expects to be in such a position shortly.
Reasons for complaints not being forwarded would be if the Clerk determined them to be “frivolous or vexatious or that there is ‘not sufficient evidence to establish a prima facie case in relation to the complaint’.”
In cases where the complaint is rejected for the reasons outlined above, “the Clerk is obliged to send the complainant, the member concerned and the Committee a statement of the reasons for so doing.”