Callely 'active' in Dublin despite €81,000 expenses claims from Cork
Fianna Fail Senator Ivor Callely is still politically active in his old Dublin constituency, despite claiming mileage and expenses from a house in Cork.
Several political sources said yesterday that it would be a surprise to voters in Dublin North Central to hear that Mr Callely was now living in west Cork.
Since his appointment to the Seanad in 2007, the controversial former minister has been claiming expenses from an address in Bantry.
TDs and senators from outside Dublin get paid overnight and travel allowances.
Mr Callely has claimed €81,015 since his appointment to the Seanad, the Sunday Independent reported yesterday.
Mr Callely was unavailable for comment yesterday. His wife, Jennifer, answered his phone and said that he could be contacted in Leinster House on Tuesday.
"That's it. That's all I have to say. Bye now," she said.
Senators do not have constituencies, but Mr Callely was regarded as still being based in Dublin North Central and was expected to run there in the next general election.
"I'd say people in this constituency will be surprised to hear he's moved to Cork," a senior Fianna Fail source said.
"He hasn't told us he's moved to Cork," a local party activist said.
The 52-year-old former TD still operates a constituency office on the northside of Dublin; he attends Fianna Fail meetings locally; he did a leaflet drop earlier this year in the area; and he canvassed with his son, Ronan Callely, in last year's local elections, where he failed to win a seat.
His official address is still listed by the Houses of the Oireachtas as 'Landsdale House', 7 St Lawrence Road, Clontarf, Dublin 3. Mr Callely's office is on the Howth Road in Killester.
He was a Fianna Fail TD from 1989 to 2007 and a member of Dublin City Council from 1985 to 2002. He was junior minister for the elderly from 2002 to 2005, when he had to resign after it emerged he had his house painted for free by a construction company in the early 1990s.
Meanwhile, Fianna Fail sources are dismissing suggestions Dublin TDs won't be allowed to be members of the party if they don't live in their constituencies.
Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern would be among the TDs to be affected if the rule change went through.
Mr Ahern doesn't live in his Dublin Central constituency and neither do many of his legendary 'Drumcondra Mafia' campaign team based at his St Luke's headquarters.
Half the Fianna Fail TDs don't live in their constituency. Aside from Mr Ahern, Tourism Minister Mary Hanafin, Community Affairs Minister Pat Carey, junior minister Sean Haughey and Fianna Fail backbenchers Cyprian Brady, Noel Ahern, Michael Mulcahy, Sean Ardagh and Chris Andrews all live in neighbouring constituencies.
Fianna Fail TD Michael Kennedy will be living outside his constituency after the next general election due to a redrawing of the boundaries.
But a senior party source said the residency rule would only apply to new members of the party.