The beleaguered Irish tax-payer will have to fork out $7million dollars to pay disgraced politician Michael Lowry’s legal fees for the Moriarty Tribunal.
Independent representative Lowry, returned from the constituency of Tipperary North in the recent election, was branded ‘profoundly corrupt’ when the report of the 14 year tribunal was released last week.
Judge Moriarty said in his findings that former Fine Gael Minister Lowry has aided businessman Denis O’Brien in his attempts to win a mobile phone licence in 1995 and had received payment from O’Brien.
Lowry, who has refused to accept the findings of the Moriarty Tribunal or offered to stand down from parliament, has run up a massive $7million legal bill over the 14 years of the investigation.
But Lowry claims he doesn’t have the money, leaving the taxpayer to foot the bill.
“I don’t have the resources to pay the bill,” the 58-year-old Lowry told the Irish News of the World.
“We are obviously doing an assessment on the final bill but it will be multimillions of Euros, yes.
“I have to publicly thank and compliment my legal team for their patience and, above all, for withholding their bill until the process was concluded.
“They’ll have to get their money but I don’t have the resources to pay that sort of bill.”
The Moriarty Reports clearly states that Lowry, Minister for Communications when the licence was awarded to O’Brien’s Esat company, was paid over $1million by the businessman or associates through offshore accounts and deals.
But a 2010 ruling by the Supreme Court relating to witness costs means the taxpayer will have to pay any outstanding legal debts, like those run-up by Lowry.
Prime Minister Enda Kenny has sent the report from the Tribunal to the Director of Public Prosecutions for consideration and legal action may follow.
But government sources believe it is unlikely that charges will ever be brought against Lowry, O’Brien or supermarket tycoon Ben Dunne who paid over $500,000 for an extension to Lowry’s house in the 1990s.
Meanwhile a defiant Lowry is resisting all calls to quit politics and will make that clear when he addresses the new parliament on Tuesday.
“I will not only conclude my term, I will contest the next General Election,” vowed Lowry.