Tuesday 21 November 2017

Callely freed after night in a cell over €2,800 phone quiz

FORMER junior minister Ivor Callely has been released from garda custody after a night in the cells over a €2,800 mobile phone bill investigation.

The 53-year-old former Fianna Fail politician left Irishtown Garda Station shortly after midday today.

The former senator was questioned by detectives in connection with an investigation into receipts for mobile phones expenses.

He was arrested early yesterday afternoon - and was held at Irishtown Garda Station.

The former minister, TD and senator has previously accepted that receipts he submitted in order to claim over €2,800 were on the headed notepaper of a company that ceased trading eight years before his first claim.

However, he said he did not know how this had happened and that he had withdrawn the claims and refunded the money.

Mr Callely was arrested by fraud squad detectives at his home at St Laurence's Road, Clontarf shortly after midday yesterday. This property was searched by gardai along with his former constituency office on the Howth Road and holiday home in Kilcrohane, West Cork.

Last April, a Dail watchdog sent a file on him to the DPP after investigations into irregular expenses claims. Around €2,800 in expenses was claimed for mobile phone, costs supposedly paid to a company that had gone out of business years earlier. He is being questioned about supplying invoices even though the business ceased trading in 1994.

The claims relate to buying mobile phones and car kits between 2002 and 2005 when he was a junior minister.

Investigations were sparked in August 2010 when former Green Party TD Paul Gogarty made an official Garda complaint over reports that Mr Callely allegedly used invoices from a company that had gone out of business to claim phone allowances.

The Standards in Public Office Commission examined the claims and filed a report.

Mr Callely was first embroiled in a scandal after claiming allowances worth €81,000 for living in his holiday home in Kilcrohane, West Cork, over three years. He resigned from Fianna Fail in August 2010 when this scandal emerged.

Mr Callely was first elected as a TD in Dublin North Central in 1989 and lost his seat in 2007.

Between 2002 and 2005, he held junior ministries in health and transport.

He quit his ministerial post in 2005 when it emerged a company involved in public contracts had painted his house for free.


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