THE High Court has varied the terms of former politician Ivor Callely's bail to allow him temporarily leave the jurisdiction.
The court heard Mr Callely, who was jailed for five months in July after admitting he fraudulently claimed €4,207.45 in expenses from the Oireachtas on forged mobile phone invoices, wants to go to Northern Ireland and Scotland during Christmas.
Yesterday, High Court President Nicholas Kearns directed that the case, which he said involves important issues, should be heard in January.
Last month, the court granted the ex-Fianna Fail Junior Minister, TD and Senator bail pending the outcome of his judicial review action against the Minister for Justice and the Governor of Wheatfield Prison, where he had been incarcerated.
The action is over refusals to grant him either temporary release from prison or enhanced remission.
He says he is entitled to early release for good behaviour and for engaging in structured activities within the prison.
He claims he has been told by staff at Wheatfield Prison that he should not be in prison and is only being kept there because of his high profile.
He was remanded on bail on his own bond of €100. Included on the terms of the bail order was a condition that he could not leave the jurisdiction.
Kieran Kelly Bl, for Callely, said his client wanted bail conditions varied as he wished to leave the jurisdiction to travel to Northern Ireland where he has "interests".
He also hoped "to spend a few days in Scotland" during the Christmas period.
The State, which was represented by John Aylmer SC, opposed the application.
Mr Justice Kearns, who said it was accepted Mr Callely was not a flight risk, agreed to the variation of bail.
However, he "did not want the impression to come of the court that this was the end of the matter".
The judge said issues raised in Mr Callely's application had been clarified in a judgment given last week by Mr Justice Peter Kelly when the court rejected dissident republican Michael McKevitt's claim that he was entitled to one-third remission on his sentence for directing terrorism.
That ruling, Mr Justice Kearns said, "clarified considerable uncertainties" to the issue between one-third enhanced remission and the normal one-quarter remission prisoners are entitled to.
Mr Justice Kearns said he wanted Mr Callely's case heard sooner rather than later, and directed that the action proceed in the first week of new legal term in January.