| 5.7°C Dublin

Committee challenges Callely case ruling

THE Seanad yesterday gave approval to one of its committees to challenge a High Court ruling on the Ivor Callely case.

Last summer, the Seanad Committee on Members' Interests found that the Dublin North-Central senator had wrongly used his address in Cork to claim expenses and suspended him for 20 days.

But, earlier this month, the High Court ruled that Mr Callely should not have been banned and that the inquiry breached his right to justice and fair procedure. Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O'Neill found that the committee did not allow Mr Callely a reasonable opportunity to defend himself.

Mr Callely, whose political base was Clontarf, north Dublin, claimed €80,000 for travel from his holiday home in Kilcrohane, west Cork, over three years.

The parliamentary probe by the committee last July found that the scandal-hit senator deliberately misrepresented his normal place of residence as being the Cork holiday home.

Mr Callely took his case to the High Court in a bid to quash the findings of the investigation.

But the committee yesterday sought, and was granted, the approval to challenge the court ruling. The case is due in the High Court on Monday.

The application went through the Seanad without a vote but Mr Callely abstained.

"I would like it to be recorded that I abstained on any matter related to that issue as I am involved personally," he said.

"I will conclude with a passage from the Bible, which is very relevant at this time. These may be my last words in the Seanad. 'And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.'"

Irish Independent