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Callely has got to quit -- Dempsey

TRANSPORT Minister Noel Dempsey says that disgraced Senator Ivor Callely cannot carry on as a public representative.

As Mr Callely prepared to fight a charge of using fake receipts to claim mobile phone expenses, his former Fianna Fail colleague describes his position as "untenable".

Mr Dempsey said that Mr Callely -- who has quit Fianna Fail -- has to "accept the fact" that he broke the rules by claiming travel expenses from west Cork.

Clontarf representative Callely has already launched an unprecedented legal action against the Seanad Committee on Members' Interests over their finding that he acted improperly.

And today it emerged that the embattled senator intends to use a defence of ignorance in relation to the mobile phone investigation.

In a letter to the committee, he says that he got the receipts -- from a defunct company -- in good faith.

He is trying to get witnesses to appear before the Oireachtas in order to back up his story.

Among the documents provided by the senator to the committee are mobile phone receipts from Vodafone and proof that he has installed mobile phone car kits.

Despite this, Mr Dempsey said that Mr Callely needs to have something of a reality check.

Noting that the High Court case has been set for early October, Mr Dempsey said: "I don't want to legally say anything that's going to interfere with that." But he quickly added: "I don't think his position is tenable as a public representative."

Asked whether Mr Callely should repay the money, the Cabinet minister said: "There's an issue really that he has to address."

Speaking at the opening of the final section of the M9 motorway in Kilkenny, Mr Dempsey said: "As long as this continues it's not going to do politics any good, and I think that's something he should take into account."