Callely Handed Two Week Deadline

The under-fire Senator, Ivor Callely, has been given 14 days to explain his controversial expense claims by two separate Government committees.

The Seanad Committee on Members' Interests and a Fianna Fáil internal committee have announced two investigations into the latest allegations against Mr Callely.

The beleaguered Senator paid back the sum of €2,879 to the Oireachtas after it emerged letter-headed receipts he submitted for mobile phone equipment were dated years after the supplier had folded. Despite this, in a statement issued over the weekend, Mr Callely claimed his expenses were made "in good faith" and that he had submitted the receipts "in good faith".

Mr Callely along with two other senators have been given two weeks to explain issues surrounding expenses to the Seanad Committee on Members’ Interests, which last night demanded 'detailed statements' by 10am on August 23.

Senator Larry Butler, who resigned the Fianna Fáil whip in June, and Senator Ann Ormonde, who retains the whip, are both being investigated after it emerged they were claiming travel expenses for a period from addresses outside the capital, despite both having addresses in Dublin.

Mr Butler has maintained his home was in Graiguenamanagh, Co Kilkenny, and he only stayed in his house in Foxrock on Seanad sitting days.

Ms Ormonde, from Donnybrook in Dublin, says she claimed expenses from Waterford for a period when building work was being carried out on her holiday home.

Yesterday, the Taoiseach called on Senator Ivor Callely to "consider his position" over the ongoing expenses scandal he has become embroiled in.

Speaking in Tullamore on Sunday, Brian Cowen said he was glad the Seanad Committee on Members’ Interests was moving quickly to deal with the Senator’s phone claims and said he should consider his position in light of the latest controversy.

Mr Cowen said he was not in a position to force Mr Callely to resign from the Upper House but added, “It is a matter for him to consider now.” He also said that Senator Callely's statement raised more questions than it answered.

Meanwhile, Fine Gael Seanad Justice Spokesperson, Senator Eugene Regan said Senator Callely's statement was a "buying time exercise", which passed the buck to an unknown third party for his false expenses claim.

"Senator Callely has been found out again and has been forced to acknowledge that the Calexpenses claims he submitted should not have been made His statement is simply not credible and offers no explanation for this latest abuse of the expenses regime. It confirms the view that the matter of Senator Callely's expenses should be investigated by the appropriate authorities, that is the Garda Siochana and the DPP," Senator Regan said.

The committee was originally due to later this month, but that has now been brought forward to consider more allegations surrounding his expenses.


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