Tricky Mickey Lowry & Other White Collar Crooks
Chicago’s ‘Irish American News’, August 2018
“What business had they, bringing me here to the special criminal court in Dublin?” wailed dodgy TD Michael Lowry after being slapped very mildly on the wrist with a €25,000 fine for tax offences.
Gee, I don’t know, Michael, but let me take a wild guess. Maybe because they thought, like most of the rest of us and definitely me, that you’re a criminal?
But he’s a card, is Michael. A white-collar card. It’s all apparently a State & Media conspiracy to besmirch the name of a good man, you see. In fact, he was only short of pulling on a Richard Nixon mask, raising the two fingered V-sign and yelling I AM NOT A CROOK. Thing is though that I’ve got a soft spot for the late Tricky Dicky and none at all for Tricky Mickey.
“Nobody understands unless you are in the position, if you’ve been harassed, chased and hounded by various institutions of the state. It’s only when you are in that position, and fortunately I had the strength, I had the courage and I had the conviction, blah blah blah….”
The strength and the courage… pass me the sick bucket, I do believe I’m about to have a movement.
Ah yes, it’s a tale as old as Time: a good, decent man picked on and bullied by the nasty media. Amazing how different someone can sound when he’s giving a self-serving public speech compared to when he’s caught on tape, though.
Here is Tricky Mickey being strong and courageous with property consultant Kevin Phelan in 2004, concerning a certain £248,624 sterling that the mean old Revenue commissioners were showing an interest in:
“I’m asking you Kevin, for fuck’s sake, will you protect me just a small bit. For Jaysus sake, don’t land me in it. I’m destroyed as it fucking is. I can’t bring out that fucking 200 – that 250 – again. If that comes out, I’m fucking ruined, I’m bankrupt…
“Kevin, the only question I’m asking you, Kevin, Kevin, I’m asking you – I’m fucking begging you. Please don’t, because I’m not – they can’t find that 200. I never declared it… The 200 – the 250 – that I gave you, I paid that directly, I never put that through my books or my account or anything, nobody’s going to fucking get it, so I’ve got, you know, I mean, I’m not even bringing that into it…”
Bloody hell, Tricky Mickey could out-curse an Anglo-Irish banker! And in the end, he needn’t have worried. Why would he? Did he have a rush of blood to the head and suddenly imagine that he was in Britain instead of Ireland? They send corrupt politicians to jail over there. We don’t do that here.
I’ve said it many times, but it always bears repeating: you have to be REALLY shit out of luck to do time for white-collar crime in Ireland. Sure, you’ll be banged up for not having a TV license or other very serious crimes; but if you’re a bent TD? Ah come on, be realistic. You’ll get a finger waved at you – IF that – and told not to do it ever again, swear on the Bible.
The unlamented Dame Enda Kenny once described Ireland as ‘a great little country to do business in’. What he meant of course was ‘great little country to do CRIMINAL business in’. He left out that one important little word.
I knew Lowry when he was swanning around the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin back in the late 90s. To say I loathed the fraud back then would be to put it mildly. He loved the idea of having a mistress, since his hero Charles Haughey had one. [Relax, editor, it was front page news and in fairness to the lady she has openly been on record as regretting it ever since. I wouldn’t have been boasting about waking up with Lowrey’s head next to me on the Pillow of Dreams either. ]
Haughey had a mistress, too; I suspect that Lowry felt like a little miniature of him.
He would always emulate his hero, the equally corrupt Charles J. Haughey in other ways, by wearing Really Expensive Suits.
Thing is, Haughey could pull that off since he looked really sharp in clothes that were payed for by the taxpayer. Really bloody sharp, that old crook was. Let’s be honest: love him or loath him, the man could wear a suit.
Lowry on the other hand never really ever looked like anything but a cheap, tenth-grade, used car salesman.
More than a decade ago I wrote in an article for New York that I thought that his smug, smirking face had begun to resemble that of a man who had sold his soul and suddenly realised there were dues to be paid. Well, fast forward and here he is boasting of being courageous at the age of 61 when he looks every day of 81.
Can I give a special mention to the really courageous – and not in a Lowry way – journalist Elaine Byrne, author of Political Corruption in Ireland 1922-2010. She put up with more than most of us have had to put up with, just to get the story out. Last week she wrote:
“Journalism got them despite the defamation action by Denis O’Brien hanging over my head since 2012. In 2015, Lowry made a complaint to the Gardai alleging improper disclosure by a Revenue official to me in relation to a raid by Revenue on his house in 2013. Nothing more came of it when I pointed out to the Gardai that I was living on the other side of the world, in Australia, when it happened.
“In 2015 Lowry took a case in the High Court seeking to prevent last week’s court case going ahead. One of his grounds was that I was involved in a conspiracy to interfere with his right to a fair trial.
“The judge rejected this: ‘The journalist made a complaint to the authorities and made the evidence available to them. I can see nothing whatsoever improper about this and, indeed, the respondents have argued that the journalist was under a statutory duty to do so.’”
Mad Mickey Lowry is well within his rights to believe that every single journalist in Ireland is out to get him. Same as I’m within MY rights, as I sit here with my rather fetching tinfoil hat on, to believe that the Martians have landed and are SPECIFICALLY out to get me, because I know things about Area 51.
But we have this thing called ‘third person perspective’; and in my case it’s because I have a long-suffering woman next to me saying: Calm down, Brady, and double your dosage; no one is out to get you. You’re just a nutter.
Mad Mickey, he doesn’t seem to have that. He’s got no one to tell him that he’s really just another guy with a conviction against him. He really believes that they’re out to get him.
Lowry, get real: you got away with it (more or less). Be happy; and the next time that you pull on your hard-done-by Richard Nixon mask, look on the bright side and remember that the Vulcans have a saying:
“Only Nixon can go to China”.
You can email me by way of the planet Vulcan or even the Starship Enterprise at firstname.lastname@example.org