Monday 23 October 2017

Tragedy of expense-row director

Businessman linked to Callely controversy died on rail tracks, inquest told

Gareth Naughton and Allison Bray

A businessman who came to prominence during the controversy over mobile phone expenses submitted by former senator Ivor Callely died as a result of suicide, an inquest heard yesterday.

Colm Parsons (53) was struck and killed by an oncoming Northern Line commuter train at the Harmonstown station in north Dublin on May 14, 2010.

The Dublin Coroner's Court heard yesterday that Mr Parsons was suffering from a nerve disorder and had sought psychiatric help, which was never provided. He was a former director of the mobile phone company Business Communications Ltd.

Mr Callely had claimed that the company, which went out of business in 1994, had supplied him with four invoices totalling €2,879.45 which he used to support allegedly bogus claims for ministerial expenses in November 2007.

Mr Callely admitted last year that the claims, covering the period between July 2002 and July 2006, should not have been made. A Seanad committee also investigated the expenses claim made when Mr Callely was a TD. He has since repaid the amount claimed.

However, the matter was referred to the DPP last May following an investigation by the Standards in Public Office Commission. The coroner heard yesterday that Mr Parsons, of St Margaret's Avenue in Malahide, went missing from his home on May 14.


CCTV footage from the train station revealed that he stood on the platform for several minutes before walking on to the tracks and lying down. He was struck by the train five seconds later.

Train driver Damien Grant testified he did not see Mr Parsons lying on the tracks until the train was about 15 to 20 yards away from him due to a curve in the track.

The inquest heard the deceased suffered from trigeminal neuralgia, which causes a stabbing or electric shock-like pain in parts of the face.

The condition had first manifested itself in early 2009 but it was not diagnosed until April last year. Mr Parson's brother, Brian Parsons, told the court the deceased had returned to Ireland after living in Cyprus for a year following his diagnosis and was feeling very down.

He had sought a meeting with a psychiatrist but the first available appointment wasn't until May 19.

The court also heard that Mr Parsons attended Beaumont Hospital on May 1 but psychiatric services were not available that day because it was a Saturday. The jury returned a verdict of death by suicide.

Irish Independent

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