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Ivor's in the money

EMBATTLED senator Ivor Callely would pocket a tax-free lump sum of just under €159,000 and a pension of almost €56,000 a year if he quit politics now, despite facing three separate investigations.

Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy has written to the clerk of the Seanad on foot of a number of complaints about Mr Callely's Oireachtas expenses.

The move comes as a Seanad committee plans to meet in a private session this month to discuss the most recent allegations surrounding the beleaguered politician.

If, however, Mr Callely decided to leave politics before the outcome of any investigations he would be entitled to a collection of tax free payments and a comfortable pension.



Lump

His tax-free haul would include a pension lump sum calculated at three times the basic pension which would amount to just under €133,000.

In addition he would be entitled to a lump sum based on his Seanad pension adding a further €14,700 and a termination payment equal to two months' salary which would boost the payments by another €10,900.

Separately, he would also be entitled to nine months of taxable termination payments based on his combined Seanad and Dail service.

This would give him 75pc of his salary for six months and 50pc for a further three months with a combined total of about €25,000.

Meanwhile the storm over his expenses claims continues, with Mr Callely facing questions by gardai about alleged forged invoices used to claim €3,000 for mobile phones and car kits between 2002 and 2006.

Yesterday Green TD Paul Gogarty lodged a three-page complaint at Lucan Garda Station formally asking them to investigate serious allegations about the senator's expenses.

A Garda spokesman said later that several requests had been received and "these matters are currently being considered in the context of what action by An Garda Siochana is required".



Meeting

The Seanad committee investigating the issue is expected to sit again at the end of this month, although an earlier meeting may be sought.

Senator Dan Boyle, who has absented himself from the committee because he commented publicly on Mr Callely before the committee investigation began, said today that this forum had limitations and other avenues might be a "better option".

He added that the "drip feed of revelations, one after the other" not only undermined Mr Callely himself but the Seanad as a whole.

The alleged forged invoices were on the headed notepaper of Business Communication Ltd with an address in Fairview in Dublin -- a company which has been officially dissolved.

Mr Callely has claimed he got a €1,500 donation from the son of a director of the company. He says he got the money from Kevin Baxter for a golf classic in 2005, according to records from the Standards in Public Office Commission.



invoices

Mr Baxter's father, James, was the director of the now-defunct company. James Baxter said he did not know anything about the alleged forged invoices or the donation by his son.

Mr Callely has been suspended from Fianna Fail but his Seanad party colleagues have shied away from calling on him to resign as they wait for him to provide a public explanation.

Four of the party's 24 senators said last night he should not resign because he was entitled to "due process".

csheehy@herald.ie


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