Callely's Return Slammed As Suspension 'Stands'

Fine Gael has slammed the return of controversial Senator Ivor Callely, who has retaken his seat in the Seanad following a 20 day suspension.

Senator Eugene Regan said that Mr Callely's return was not in compliance with the "Ethics in Public Office Act 1995" as Mr Callely had not yet "regularised" his affairs. Mr Regan was referring to Senator Callely's irregular expenses claims that led to his suspension from the house by the Committee on Members’ Interests.

It is understood the Senator had claimed expenses for mobile phones from a company that had ceased trading years before the dates on the receipts. It also emerged earlier this year that Callely had claimed expenses totalling €81,015 since 2007 for overnight and travel expenses to a house in County Cork, which he claimed was his primary residence despite reportedly staying in Dublin.

Senator Callely claims he has fully complied with regulations.

However, this morning Senator Regan has criticised Callely's resumption of his Seanad seat after he arrived in the Seanad yesterday, saying it was not in compliance with the Ethics in Public Office Act unless he has ceased "misrepresenting his normal place of residence in west Cork".

“Under existing Ethics Legislation Senator Callely has been suspended from the Upper House not just for 20 days but until he regularises his allowance affairs and ceases misrepresenting his place of residence. To date, the Seanad has not received confirmation that he has done so."

Senator Regan said he has written to the Cathaoirleach in September and asked him to ensure that the Committee on Members’ Interests address the issue and determine under what circumstances, if any, Senator Callely could resume his seat after the 20-day suspension period.

Mr Callely has launched legal action challenging the validity of his suspension.

However, Senator Regan said it was a separate matter from the legal proceedings on the validity, or otherwise, of the suspension and that until such time as the High Court adjudicates on the issue, the suspension "stood" and should be implemented in accordance with the Ethics Legislation.

“As a matter of law Senator Calley has been indefinitely suspended until he complies with the Committee’s directions. The Cathaoileach should remove him from the Seanad immediately until confirmation has been received.”


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