| 12.3°C Dublin

Andrew Lynch: It's a bad sign when even Biffo gets tired of your gaffes, Ivor

Ivor 'the Engine' Callely may have reached the end of the line.

Three days since his bizarre expenses were revealed, the Fianna Fail senator has yet to explain why he claimed €81,015 to drive to Leinster House from Cork for three years when his own website says that he still lives in his old constituency of Dublin North Cental.

With even the Taoiseach losing patience and demanding a written statement, the signs are beginning to look ominous -- and unless he can come up with an amazing excuse over the next 48 hours, his colourful political career may well be at an end.

As Callely weighs up his options, the most telling factor of all is that not a single FF TD or senator has rushed to his defence.

The reason is simple. For some time now, the man with a weakness for flashy pinstripe suits has been one of the party's greatest embarrassments -- and given his track record, most of them feel they'd be better off without him.

In Katie Hannon's excellent 2004 book The Naked Politician, Ivor declared that he intended to be Taoiseach one day. The following year, however, his great dream started to unravel.

He was forced to resign as a junior minister when it emerged that a builder had painted his house for nothing and he had not disclosed this to the Standards in Public Office Commission.

The scandal overshadowed that week's Budget from Brian Cowen -- and the Taoiseach won't have forgotten about this.

From that point on, things have gone from bad to worse for Ivor. It was revealed that his office had an unusually high turnover of staff, which might explain his offer to buy a car for one of his assistants.

He became embroiled in a row over a donation from a recycling company, eventually handing over a cheque for €1,000 to FF HQ that had apparently got lost.

The receivers were called in to pursue him over an €8m property deal on Clontarf seafront in which he had been one of the main investors.

And then his yacht was involved in a collision at Baltimore, which resulted in the gardai interviewing him while he wore a kimono.

Ivor Callely's career has been one long litany of gaffes, controversies and awkward incidents. If it all ends this week, there will only be one way to remember him -- as 'the little engine that couldn't'.


Privacy