Tuesday 21 November 2017

Political success failed to match flamboyancy

Fionnan Sheahan and Michael Brennan

IVOR Callely only served as a junior minister for four years – but his flamboyant and controversial style has made him one of the country's best-known politicians.

To this day, his personal website, IvorCallely.ie, declares that he has a keen business sense and an excellent track record.

"Ivor is well respected for his cordial and understanding manner, extensive knowledge and a remarkable determination," it says.

Legend has it when Ivor Callely was just three years old, his mother took him on the bus into Dublin city centre. Just before they reached their stop, a woman approached them and claimed that she was a fortune teller.

She then pointed at the innocent toddler and declared with absolute certainty: "That boy will be president one day!"

Although he never reached Aras an Uachtarain, the former pharmaceutical sales rep made his electoral breakthrough in 1987 when he was elected to Dublin Corporation. He was a TD for Dublin North-Central – the old stomping group of Charlie Haughey – within two years.

Although he shared a constituency with Charlie Haughey and later his son Sean, relations were poor with the dynasty.

The highest point on the political ladder he reached was becoming junior health minister in 2002 and junior transport minister two years later.

He nicknamed himself 'The Engine', because of his self-claimed prodigious workrate. And he had a penchant for wide pinstripe suits and loud ties.

He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and three children, in the affluent Dublin suburb of Clontarf.

He lost his Dail seat in 2007 and failed to get elected to the Seanad. But he was appointed to the Seanad by then Taoiseach Bertie Ahern as one of his personal nominees.

Irish Independent

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