herald

Friday 17 August 2018

A brass-necked Callely strolls in without a care

SHOCK: Colleagues stunned to see suspended senator in Leinster House

BRAZEN Ivor Callely shocked his fellow politicians by strolling in Leinster House yesterday despite being suspended from the Seanad.

The Dublin senator turned up to attend an Oireachtas committee, as it emerged that colleagues investigating his phone expenses could pass on their findings to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Mr Callely is continuing to protest his innocence in the face of a series of Oireachtas investigations into his travel expenses, mobile phone claims and property ownership.

However, the Seanad Committee on Members' Interests were more than surprised when Mr Callely turned up to attend a meeting in another part of the building.

Although the Clontarf politician cannot sit in the Seanad for 20 days, he can still participate in Oireachtas committee meetings -- albeit without entitlement to expenses.



Delay

It has now emerged that his efforts to seek a judicial review of the original finding by the Members' Interest committee that he cheated the system by claiming a Cork holiday home as his primary residence could delay all further investigations significantly.

The committee is considering whether it can proceed in light of the High Court action or whether it would be better to let the DPP or the Standards In Public Office Commission deal with the ongoing situation.

The inquiry also hit another roadblock yesterday when its chief legal advisor, barrister Gerald Hogan, was promoted to the High Court.

Members spent four hours debating if it had the power, time and resources to continue with the investigations.

Mr Callely did meet a deadline to respond to a complaint that he did not officially declare his ownership of a number of properties and he continues to argue that he did not purposely claim €3,000 in mobile phone expenses using receipts froma defunct company.

The Herald understands that the senator's reply relating to his property portfolio ran to several hundred pages.

And he was determined to put on a business-as-usual front yesterday as he attended an enterprise committee being briefed by Credit Reviewer John Trethowan.

During the meeting, Mr Callely spoke to advise Mr Trethowan -- who is responsible for monitoring decision by banks on loans to small businesses - that he didn't have a magic wand and the banks were recapitalised for the benefit of the country.

Three weeks ago, Mr Callely launched an extraordinary legal battle against his colleagues to try and overturn their opinion that he wrongly claimed over €80,000 in travel expenses.

Rather than quietly accept a 20-day ban, Mr Callely decided to take an unprecedented case to the High Court, which will decide in early October whether it can adjudicate on his challenge.

kdoyle@herald.ie

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