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Callely -- what a legend

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Ivor Callely. Photo: Collins

Ivor Callely. Photo: Collins

Ivor Callely. Photo: Collins

Sir -- Ivor Callely, a son of the sod from deepest Kilcrohane, outside Bantry, is a man who has been much maligned, just because he has to commute to Dublin, a distance of 350km from the Sheep's Head Peninsula, on a daily basis when he works at the Senate.

And the fact that he is the highest-paid "local" around Bantry, where nobody can earn €17,000 for 20 days of not working without being kidnapped for ransom, has nothing to do with the great esteem in which he is held.

Around here, y'see, even the poverty-stricken are impressed when someone other than themselves is raking in the cash just as long as they know the person is the salt of the Earth and doing the important work of not showing fear in the face of the outraged local population, just because the accent isn't immediately recognisable.

The dignity of the man is legendary in these parts, and I even exchanged smiles with him as he stopped at the same stall as me at Bantry market to buy incense sticks. As he went off with his sandalwood aromas, I whispered to my son that all great men smile at the world when despite ridicule and scorn the money keeps rolling in.

I turned just in time to see that dapperest of men, grinning benignly to all who met his gaze, slip inside the doors of the old Provincial Bank, now the AIB on Bantry square. He must have business in there, I thought, kindly.

Robert Sullivan,

Bantry, Co Cork

Sunday Independent