herald

Friday 17 August 2018

Andrew Lynch: You've no reason to feel smug, Mr Callely

Ivor Callely kept his hard neck until the very end. As he walked away from the High Court yesterday, the ex-Fianna Fail senator solemnly told the television cameras that he had received great support from the Irish public during his recent brushes with controversy.

It was just a shame that at the exact same moment, several members of that public wound down their car windows to tell Ivor exactly what they thought of him.

Callely's legal victory is certainly enough to put a pep in his step.

He has been awarded almost €17,000 for the loss of earnings he suffered when the Seanad's committee on members' interests suspended him for 20 days last year.

Just to cheer the taxpayer up even more, we will also pick up his legal bill of more than €100,000 for the five-day hearing as well as the State's own legal costs.

Ivor would clearly like to believe that this "absolutely brilliant" result proves he was the victim of a terrible miscarriage of justice.

Unfortunately for him, it doesn't.

The court found that the Seanad committee screwed up.

But the expense claims that landed Callely in hot water in the first place are still on the public record -- and no matter how hard he tries to act the innocent, the facts are still as damning as they ever were.

The bottom line is that Ivor the Engine claimed around €81,000 in travel bills from a house in West Cork, when everyone believed that the former TD for Dublin North Central was still resident in Clontarf.

There is also the small matter of the €3,000 worth of mobile phone equipment that he apparently claimed with forged invoices from a company that had already gone out of business.



Taxpayer

Ivor likes to act as if he's the victim of a media witch-hunt -- but given that he's accepted so much public money in recent years, surely the least he owes us now is a proper explanation.

The story of Ivor the Engine has finally run out of steam.

He may have won a Pyrrhic victory in the courts, but his political career is well and truly over -- and for the long-suffering taxpayer, it's not a day too soon.

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