By Noel Dundon
North Tipperary Deputy Michael Lowry has been cleared by the Members Interests Committee of Dail Eireann of any wrongdoing after the committee had investigated an allegation in a Sunday newspaper that he had failed to declare his interest in an eleven acre landbank at Gortnahoe.
The Sunday World and a number of other daily newspapers had highlighted Deputy Lowry’s interest in the landbank which is owned by Abbeygreen Consulting Ltd, of which Deputy Lowry owns a 95% shareholding. And, they detailed the purchase of the 11 acre property in Gortnahoe from a local farmer through another company Horsebarrack Property Ltd. The ownership of the land moved from Horsebarrack to Abbeygreen in May 2011 according to Land Registry files.
However, a letter seen by The Tipperary Star clearly states that Deputy Lowry did not do anything wrong in this regard and did not conceal the land purchase from the Members Interests Committee, as he was not obliged to declare it.
The letter to Deputy Lowry states, “The Committee considered the matter at it’s meeting of today’s date ( 26 April). The Committee noted that you had included in the Register of Members Interests, your directorship of Garuda Ltd and Abbeygreen Consulting Ltd. The advice of the Committee is that, once a member has declared his/her directorship of a company, it is not a requirement that land and/or other assets of that company be declared/registered. The holdings of a company are not registrable interests of an individual member, within the meaning of the Ethics in Public Offices Act 1995 and 2001.”
Deputy Lowry told The Tipperary Star this week that he was outraged at the stories in the Sunday and daily papers which were “inaccurate”.
“The article content made numerous false assumptions in an attempt to sensationalise and give legs to a non-story,” Deputy Lowry said.