Belfast Telegraph

Callely could sue over expenses ban

Senator Ivor Callely could sue the Seanad colleagues who wrongly fined and banned him over an expenses scandal.

The politician, who quit Fianna Fail last year, successfully challenged his 20-day ban without pay from the upper house over controversial mileage claims.

A judge ruled the Seanad inquiry breached Senator Callely's constitutional right to justice and fair procedures as he was not given the opportunity to defend himself on political ethics charges.

Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O'Neill quashed the findings of a report that the politician had misrepresented his normal place of residence and the finding opens the door to a lawsuit against the Committee on Members Interests.

Outside the Four Courts, the Senator's solicitor Noel O'Hanrahan said his client had been under sustained attack but was now clearly vindicated.

"Ivor Callely, his wife and family have suffered greatly from having been in the glare of media publicity with attendant adverse, unfair and defamatory comments from some sections of the media," said Mr O'Hanrahan.

"Senator Callely will now be reviewing his legal decisions going forward with his legal advisers and, on their advice, will not be making any further comment at this time."

The case will be mentioned a week on Monday when the issue of costs, and possibly damages, will be discussed.

Mr Callely, whose political base was Clontarf, north Dublin, claimed 80,000 euro (£67,000) for travel from his holiday home in Kilcrohane, west Cork, over three years.

The parliamentary probe, by the Select Committee on Members' Interests of Seanad Eireann last July, found the scandal-hit Senator deliberately misrepresented his normal place of residence as being Cork instead of Dublin.

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