No definite figure is available for the cost of the Moriarty Tribunal, the Department of the Taoiseach which oversees spending on the enquiry estimates that the amount spent on lawyers’ fees was approximately €33.7 million, this according to its secretary general Martin Fraser.
To date third party costs are €43 Million, however an estimate previously published by the Comptroller & Auditor General stated that the final cost could be anywhere between €40 and €80 million. This would mean that the Tribunal could end up costing the tax payer €120 Million and in the process make millionaires out of many of the top lawyers.
Even with this enormous cost and 14 years of investigation no criminal charges have ever been brought against any of the individuals who were found guilty of corruption in the Tribunals final report. Michael Lowry a TD (Ind) representing North Tipperary for the past 14 years is no exception to this.
The enquiry investigated an alleged clandestine payment of €900,000 from Esat Digifone founder Denis O’Brien to Michael Lowry in 1995. This was in relation to the awarding of the country’s second mobile licence during which time Michael Lowry was FG Minister of Communications.
Whether or not he is guilty the Criminal Assets Bureau cannot find any evidence of illegal payments and all evidence in the report is hearsay and not based on fact. Despite the Tribunal investigations the people in North Tipperary continue to show their faith in him and their belief that these investigations are nothing more than a witch hunt.
In the 2011 General Election Michael Lowry returned 14,000 or 29.2 percent of first preference votes one of the highest in the country. For me the only evidence that counts are charges brought by the state and not those brought by lawyers whose only goal is to increase there wages.