Ivor Callely defends expense claims

Wednesday 02 June 2010 22.36
Ivor Callely - Regrets distraction
Ivor Callely - Regrets distraction

Fianna Fáil Senator Ivor Callely has asked a Seanad Committee to investigate his controversial expenses claims.

Speaking in the Seanad, he insisted that he fully complied with the regulations concerning his expense claims.

Senator Callely has been under pressure since the Sunday Independent revealed that he had used an address in west Cork from which to claim expenses for travelling to Leinster House.

Yesterday, his colleagues called for a response, while Taoiseach Brian Cowen ordered him to supply a written explanation.

In a personal statement to the Seanad this morning, the Senator said he very much regretted any distraction brought to the House and to its members by the coverage of his expenses.

He said the expenses system was 'complex' and full of anomalies.

He said he was 'deeply concerned at the presentation of this matter' in the media and said the published documents 'don't give the full picture'.

Senator Callely said he had always made it clear that he had a residence in west Cork, as well as a home in Clontarf and a constituency office in Dublin North Central.

He added that he had travelled from all three in order to fulfil his duties in the Seanad.

Senator Callely said he wanted to bring his case before the Seanad's Members Interests Committee to let them see the full file of documents and allow them to reach an assessment of wrongdoing, if any.

Fianna Fáil said it takes the matter 'very seriously' and said the issues must be addressed 'comprehensively and transparently'.

In a statement it said: 'We note that Senator Callely has expressed a willingness to appear before the Seanad Committee on Members' Interests to deal with the concerns raised about his expenses.

'The Taoiseach is happy for this committee to examine all the relevant documentation and to reach a determination. He hopes that the Committee will be in a position to do so without delay.

'In order to expedite the Committee's consideration of this issue, the Taoiseach believes it would be helpful if the Senator furnished a detailed statement as soon as possible to the Cathaoirleach of Seanad Eireann, as Chair of that Committee.'