Michael was educated at Thurles CBS and began his community activity as Secretary of the local Holycross – Ballycahill GAA Club. He was appointed Chairman of the Mid Tipperary Divisional Board in 1982. He had a trajectory of advancement and became the youngest ever Tipperary County Board Chairman. During Michael’s three year term, he was responsible for introducing a new era of Semi-Professionalism for the Senior Hurling Panel. The method of appointing selectors for the Senior County team was reviewed which led to the appointment of ‘Babs’ Keating. Babs subsequently led Tipperary to a Munster Final victory in 1987 following a famine of sixteen years. This paved the way for All Ireland victory for Tipperary in 1989.
Michael was appointed Chairman of the Semple Stadium Management Committee in 1986. The stadium was on the brink of insolvency with £1.5million in debts following the 1984 GAA Centenary expenditure. To overcome this issue, Michael was the brainchild behind the pop festival “Feile” and The Trip to Tipp which was introduced as a means of successfully repaying the outstanding debts. To this day it is known as one of the best pop festivals of all time in Ireland.
Michael was first elected to Tipperary North Riding County Council in 1979. His continued political success then led Michael to Dáil Éireann where he was elected as a Fine Gael TD for Tipperary North in the 1987 General Election. In 1993 he became Chairman of the Fine Gael Parliamentary Party. The year 1994 saw him lead the Fine Gael negotiations that resulted in the formation of the Rainbow Government under John Bruton with Labour and Democratic Left. Michael was subsequently appointed Minister for Transport, Energy and Communications where he was responsible for:
– The restructuring of CIE and Aer Lingus
– Cost & Competitiveness review of the ESB
– Securing the future of Bord Na Mona
– The reform of An Post
– The launch of the LUAS project
– The sale of TEAM Aer Lingus to SRS Technic
– The Rationalisation of State Bodies
– Investment Programme in Regional Airports
– Extension of DART
– New East Midlands Power Station 120 MW
In 1996, Michael stood down from Government and resigned from the Fine Gael Party. He continued his political career as an Independent T.D.
Michael has topped the poll as an Independent TD in the last five General Elections which took place in 1997, 2002, 2007, 2011 and 2016. In 2007 he received almost 13,000 first preference votes, one of the highest counts in the country. He topped the poll in 2011 with over 14,000 first preference votes. 2016 was his eighth general election and his fifth as an Independent candidate. He topped the poll yet again by taking 13,064 first preferences, exceeding the quota of 12,992.
Locally, Michael has the reputation of dedication and most importantly delivery. Among many, the establishment of the Tipperary Institute in 1998 and the draining of the Mulcair River were two major achievements for North Tipperary and were as a result of Michael’s efforts.
In 2004, Michael nominated ten candidates for the North Tipperary local elections. Six succeeded in being elected and becoming members of The Lowry Team. In 2009, nine candidates were nominated and seven elected. In 2014 Tipperary North and Tipperary South were amalgamated. In 2014 Michael nominated 6 candidates of which 3 were elected. The last local elections were in 2019 and Michael nominated 5 candidates of which all 5 were elected. This was fondly nicknamed “The drive for five”. The Councillors that make up the present Team Lowry are Cllr Eddie Moran, Cllr Michael O’Meara, Cllr Shane Lee, Cllr Rocky McGrath and Cllr Michéal Lowry. Michéal is Michaels eldest son and is now serving his 4th term on the Tipperary County Council and topped the latest local election polls for the Thurles area.
Some of Michaels achievements over the last decade are as follows:
– Multimillion infrastructural investment plan for South Tipperary General Hospital
– Major Investment package for Nenagh General Hospital to upgrade facilities to include two new surgical suites and ensure the viability of the hospital for the future
– Provision of a new build modern hospital to include Rehab Care facility at the Community Hospital of the Assumption Thurles
– New school for Borrisokane Community College with new special needs unit
– The Ursuline Convent building project
– Major multimillion Euro development on the site of Lisheen Mine
– Substantial investment for the redevelopment of the former Erin Foods Site in Thurles
– Multimillion Technology Park for Thurles
– Large financial commitment for the upgrade of Liberty Square in Thurles
– Funding for the Templemore Flood Relief project
– Substantial amount of money secured in 2010 Works Scheme on Council Housing Estates
– Grant aid and funding for a good number of sporting organisations across the county
– Funding secured to complete Roscrea Pool & Leisure Centre
– Regeneration of the Thurles Leisure Centre
– New Garda Station for Clonmel town
– Tipperary Third Level Institute threatened with closure and Michael assisted with the amalgamation of the Tipperary Institute with L.I (Limerick Institute) to become L.I.T(Limerick Institute of Technology.
– Assistance in the package of supports for 5 Tipperary Town Schools
It is widely acknowledged that his willingness to participate in discussions supporting the formation of government has ensured significant investment for Tipperary.
Michael’s reputation of hard work, delivery and dedication is why he is repeatedly elected. He has an endless passion to help his constituents. He has a 100% record, being elected to the Dáil on every attempt since 1987 and has now been a TD for the past 32 years.
Michael is presently serving in the 32nd Dáil and continues to strive for the benefit of the people of Tipperary.