Saturday 19 October 2019

Ex-minister spared jail after he rubbed teabag on surgery wall to harass doctor

Ex-junior minister Ivor Callely. Picture: Andrew Phelan
Ex-junior minister Ivor Callely. Picture: Andrew Phelan
Andrew Phelan

Andrew Phelan

Disgraced former politician Ivor Callely carried out a campaign of harassment against a GP, pouring dirt around his waiting room, ripping magazines and rubbing a teabag on the walls.

Callelly (60) was caught trashing the waiting room at the north Dublin practice after the doctor installed a hidden CCTV system. Dublin District Court heard the pair were in a dispute over the building they shared. Callely believed the victim, Dr James Dolan, was stealing electricity and "flipped".

Judge Kevin Staunton spared Callely jail, giving him an eight-month suspended sentence after hearing he had been under "enormous pressure" at the time, had paid €500 compensation for the damage and apologised.

Callely had carried out a sustained campaign of harassment against Dr Dolan and his behaviour had been "bizarre", Judge Staunton said.

The former Fianna Fáil TD and junior minister, with an address at St Lawrence Road, Clontarf, pleaded guilty to one count of harassing Dr Dolan and seven of criminal damage at the waiting room of his practice at Howth Road, Dublin 3, in May and June last year.

Callely, wearing grey slacks, a navy blazer, white shirt and grey tie stood at the back of the courtroom's public gallery until his case was called.

Garda Declan O'Carolan said in evidence he arrested Callely at Howth Road on June 21 and brought him to Clontarf garda station, where the charges were put to him. He made no reply to any count after caution and was released on station bail pending yesterday's appearance, the court heard.

Callely was pleading guilty, his solicitor Noel Hanrahan said.

Gda O'Carolan then said Dr Dolan had been subjected to a "systemic campaign of criminal damage and incidents of a malicious nature". He had a hidden surveillance system installed in the waiting room and between May 3 and June 7 a number of incidents involving Callely were captured.

Callely was seen damaging the carpet, throwing waste items from a dustpan onto the floor, and using a brush to spread the waste around the floor.

He was seen tearing pieces of paper and throwing them around the waiting room, ripping magazines that had been left out as reading material for patients. On one recording, Callely was seen rubbing a sweeping brush on the wall and smearing a tea bag on the wall.

The court heard he had previous convictions for using a false instrument and driving without an NCT cert and while holding a mobile phone.

Judge Staunton said he had listened with "incredulity" to the evidence. The behaviour was like something "one would see in a comedy sketch", he said.

Callely was appointed junior transport minister in 2002. In 2005, he was forced to resign from the Cabinet after reports that a painter who worked on Eastern Health Board contracts had painted his home. Callely resigned from Fianna Fáil in 2010 amid controversy over expenses. In 2014, he was jailed for five months after he admitted fraudulently claiming €4,207.45 in expenses from the Oireachtas on forged mobile phone invoices between November 2007 and December 2009, while he was a senator.

Irish Independent

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