Belfast Telegraph

'Delighted' Callely awarded damages

A "delighted" Ivor Callely has been awarded 17,000 euro damages for a 20-day Seanad ban over his controversial expenses.

The High Court previously quashed the findings of a Seanad inquiry that ruled the politician had misrepresented his normal place of residence when he was paid mileage claims worth 80,000 euro.

Outside Dublin Four Courts the politician, who quit Fianna Fail last year, said his name has been vindicated.

The 20-day punishment was handed down by colleagues after they found he misrepresented where he was living - a west Cork holiday home - rather than his former base in Clontarf, north Dublin.

Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O'Neill, who overturned the decision and 20-day ban without pay from the upper house, awarded the politician 17,000 euro for loss of earnings.

The judge ruled the politician should not have been banned from the Seanad following an inquiry because he was not given the chance to defend himself properly on the political ethics charges.

Senator Callely has claimed he had suffered an abuse of power. "I'm always very supportive of people who have been unfairly treated by the people, I suppose in authority, and people in a position of power, who feel they can abuse that," he said.

"I think it's very wrong when people are wronged in such a fashion and I had to take extraordinary steps to deal with an extraordinary situation and I have been cleared 100% and it's absolutely brilliant so I'm delighted."

Senator Callely said he was happy to have the case resolved from "the public's point of view" as they would now be more familiar with the controversy.

The Select Committee on Members' Interests of Seanad Eireann, headed by Senator Pat Moylan, said it still plans to appeal against the decision to the Supreme Court.

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