Statement to Seanad by Senator Ivor Callely
This is Senator Ivor Callely's statement to the Seanad after Taoiseach Brian Cowen called for him to give a written explanation over his claims.
"Thank you for the opportunity for this statement to be made.
"I am conscious of the comments of my colleagues regarding the media presentation of my expenses and I very much regret any distraction brought to this House and Members of the House.
"I am equally conscious of my family, wider circle of friends and loyal supporters. I recognise the difficulties this matter has caused and I am prepared to co-operate to satisfactorily address all issues.
"I know most will also appreciate this issue is difficult to address by way of a simple statement here today. The expense regime is complex and there are anomalies in the system.
"I like others, am deeply upset and concerned at the presentation of my expenses and the negative complexion this has put on me, this house and the profession of politics.
"As this matter is complex and there is a full file of documents that clearly indicated my position from the time of my appointment to Seanad Eireann up to the present day.
"I am most respectfully requesting that I be afforded the opportunity to go before the Select Committee on Members' Interests and submit myself to their investigation into this matter and their assessment of any wrong doing, if any.
"The original media story was based on FOI (Freedom of Information) requests which in their published form do not give a full picture. I am satisfied that the Select Committee should consider all documents relating to my file in order to enable them to obtain the full facts of my case.
"I have always indicated that I have a West Cork residence, a Clontarf home and a Constituency Office in Dublin North Central and travel from all three depending on circumstances to fulfil my Seanad duties. I understand that I have complied with the regulations.
"There are anomalies in the expense regime which warrant consideration and I have raised such matters with the Oireachtas. However, as this issue of expenses is very complex I hope the Select Committee will investigate all the issues relating to my case and come to a speedy conclusion.
"I will fully co-operate with the Select Committee and comply with any and all requests and directions given by them and look forward to a speedy and satisfactory conclusion to this issue."