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Monday 25 September 2017

Enough is enough, senior FF figures warn Callely

Ralph Riegel and Fiach Kelly

Controversial senator Ivor Callely was holed up in his west Cork holiday home last night as he came under increasing pressure to respond to allegations that he forged invoices to claim Oireachtas expenses.

He was yesterday challenged to consider his political future by senior Fianna Fail figures.

It was alleged at the weekend that Mr Callely used forged invoices to claim €3,000 for the purchase of four mobile phones and car kits during his time as a TD between 2002 and 2006.

But the Dublin North-Central politician refused to comment when contacted at his luxurious Kilcrohane residence yesterday.

A member of the Callely family confirmed he was at home but said he was not speaking to the media or issuing any statement on the latest allegations.

"He has nothing to say -- that's it," said a young man who answered the door at the house.

'Private property' signs have recently been erected on the laneway leading to the stone-fronted property on the outskirts of the village.

Mr Callely recently resigned the Fianna Fail whip and was suspended from the Seanad after he claimed €80,000 travel expenses from the holiday home.

Silence

But his silence came as senior figures within Fianna Fail challenged him to consider his political future.

Former minister Mary O'Rourke warned that many in the party were now openly wondering about precisely what was coming next in relation to the his expenses claims.

She said she hoped someone close to Mr Callely would advise him that "enough is enough".

However, she pointed out that both the Seanad and Taoiseach Brian Cowen had acted quickly over the previous allegations -- and it was unclear if anything further could now be done.

And Article 18.9 of the Constitution says that no senator can be forced to resign from the Seanad.

"Every member of Seanad Eireann shall, unless he previously dies, resigns, or becomes disqualified, continue to hold office until the day before the polling day of the general election for Seanad Eireann next held after his election or nomination," it says.

A person can be disqualified if they are declared bankrupt by the court, but it is not clear if they can be disqualified if they are found guilty of a crime.

Mr Callely remained at his picturesque home at Kilcrohane outside Bantry in west Cork throughout yesterday.

The house -- which has been for sale for almost a year -- boasts panoramic views over the West Cork coastline and has been owned by the Dublin politician for over a decade.

Yesterday, Kilcrohane locals were wary of ongoing media interest in the village's most famous resident.

"I've nothing to say -- he is a very nice man and it seems to me that there is a bit of a witch-hunt out for him," one Kilcrohane local said. Others refused to comment about the latest controversy involving Mr Callely.

Over recent years, the Dublin politician has become a high-profile figure in west Cork -- particularly during the famous summer regatta season in Schull, Baltimore, Glandore and Cape Clear.

However, his motor cruiser has not been used this season and it remains in a boatyard.

Irish Independent

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