Friday 19 January 2018

Senator lives out nightmare in dream home

Ralph Riegel

IT was perhaps fitting that senator Ivor Callely was last night sheltering from the soft August rain in the magnificent stone-fronted house in west Cork that first landed him at the centre of a storm over his expenses.

The former junior minister was suspended from the Seanad earlier this summer because of expenses claims, based on his insistence that the property overlooking Dunmanus Bay was his primary residence.

The Kilcrohane house was designed by Mr Callely as his dream holiday home.

When it was constructed, he was at the peak of his political powers -- a Dublin TD and junior minister with hopes of promotion to full cabinet rank.

Yesterday, that dream appeared to be turning into a nightmare, jeopardising his political future.

Now, Mr Callely faces a growing chorus of demands for him to comment on allegations that some of his expenses claims, lodged between 2002 and 2006, were based on forged invoices.

Mr Callely appeared intent on enjoying his extended summer break -- and seemed determined to ignore the media presence in the tiny west Cork village.

His house -- located on the Sheep's Head peninsula some 27km from Bantry -- has been on the market for almost a year and currently has an asking price of €650,000.


However, the plush stone-faced house would have been expected to fetch over €1m had it been sold at the peak of the property market in 2006 to 2007.

The Kilcrohane property ranks as one of the most impressive homes in west Cork, boasting panoramic views of the Atlantic coastline.

But if the scene was idyllic, it was certainly spoiled for the Dublin politician by the intense spotlight under which he remains and which has even extended to Kilcrohane village itself.

Yesterday, villagers were both wary and weary of the reporters and photographers who congregated in Kilcrohane.

Many locals were clearly determined not to comment lest they offend the Callely family, who are the area's highest-profile residents.

Many locals credit Mr Callely for having helped boost Kilcrohane's tourism and residential profile through his decision to built a holiday home here.

The property has a floor area of 3,000sq ft -- which includes a large garden. The house has four large bedrooms and lavishly appointed living areas.

The house also has a vast terrace area with panoramic views out over Kilcrohane and the local coastal approaches.

The terrace was walled to offer shelter from the west Cork winds -- though there was no escaping the rain that swept over the peninsula yesterday.

Irish Independent

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