Monday 16 July 2018

Explain 'every penny' of income or face jail over debt, Callely told

Ivor Callely
Ivor Callely

Tom Tuite

Former politician Ivor Callely is facing another term in jail for breaking a court order forcing him to pay a €1,755 debt to an accountancy firm.

The ex-Fianna Fáil politician was jailed for five months in 2014 for using false invoices to claim expenses of €4,207.45.

Yesterday, Callely (57), of St Lawrence, Clontarf, appeared before Judge Michael Coghlan at Dublin District Court.

This set of proceedings results from his failure to comply with terms of a 2013 district court judgment compelling him to pay a €1,755 debt to Galway-based accountants Gallagher & Company, which asked the judge to issue a committal order.

Callely, who says he needs €2,500 a month for a "reasonable living", said he had done his best to contact the creditor but Judge Coghlan told him he was in contempt of court orders.

Threatening to jail him, the judge said he wanted to see proof of his income and expenditure. Judge Coghlan said he would not proceed with a committal order - but he adjourned the case for four weeks.

He gave the former TD and senator a "formal warning" that he would issue the committal order if Callely did not provide adequate information in advance of the next hearing.

The former politician has provided a statement of his means, which he said had been vouched by an assets management agency.


However, lawyers for Gallagher & Company said they had not been furnished with Callely's income and expenditure documents.

In evidence, he said that he had an income of €7,683 a month. He pays €4,800 a month on a lease for a commercial property in Dublin - but he explained it was difficult to find tenants able to afford the rent.

Explaining why he had not paid the debt, he said his lawyers were also looking for a payment of €6,200 in legal fees arising out of his criminal charges and other proceedings.

The court heard he owes approximately €250,000 to the legal firm. He also said he owed €5m to AIB and €11m to another creditor.

Solicitor Paula McHugh, for Gallagher & Company, said that in three years since the district court judgment was made, he never picked up the phone to contact her clients.

"I try to be reasonable with everyone," said Mr Callely.

Ms McHugh said that was not the experience of her client.

He claimed he left numerous telephone messages but the court heard that the solicitors for the accountancy firm had received only one message.

Judge Coghlan noted from his statement of means that Callely has €2,500 in living expenses. The former politician said it was €800 a week, which he claimed was an amount set out by an insolvency adviser for "reasonable living".

Judge Coghlan was not satisfied with the documentation furnished and told Callely that he was not interested in third-party information. "I am not a bit impressed by this performance, Mr Callely," said Judge Coghlan, adding: "This is a very serious point, this is coming to the end of the rope."

He told him that an instalment order was in place, he had failed to make any repayments - and this was nothing short of a contempt of at least two court orders, the judgment and the instalment order. He said he was giving him a month to produce full explanations for "every penny of his income".

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News