Expenses scandal hits Fianna Fail

Senator Ivor Callely is set to be expelled from the Fianna Fail parliamentary party after a formal investigation was opened into his expense claims.

In a statement issued this afternoon, the Seanad Select Committee on Members’ Interests said it had taken the decision to instigate its investigation after receiving two complaints from members of the public.

The move comes a day after Mr Callely asked for an Oireachtas committee to investigate his controversial 81,000 euro expenses claims.

The claims were made despite Mr Callely, a former TD for Dublin North Central, stating on his website he maintains his Dublin home and constituency office in Clontarf. His other property is in County Cork, 370km from Dublin.

Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport Mary Hanafin increased the pressure on Mr Callely today by criticising her party colleague’s answers about his expenses.

Ms Hanafin said answers given by Mr Callely so far in the expenses row were “not very clear”. The public deserved to know the real answer about what was being done with public money, she said.

“I think Senator Callely has to explain the situation to the Senate Select Committee [on Members’ Interests]. There are serious questions being asked and I believe he should be absolutely upfront and clear about it.”

Earlier this week, Taoiseach Brian Cowen called on the senator to explain himself.

Sinn Fein’s Aengus O Snodaigh said the issue was further damaging the perception of politics in Ireland and called for any inquiry into Mr Callely’s expenses to be held in public.

“The fact that Senator Callely was appointed to the Seanad by former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern without having to be elected will cause further infuriation among the general public,” he said.

“Here we have a Senator that nobody voted for standing up in the Seanad and defending Government decisions to cut dole payments and introduce the pension levy while at the same time he was claiming a mileage allowance which he was not entitled to. This is the worst type of ‘sleveen’ politics at work.”


The scandal has broken as the latest economic figures revealed the depth of the crisis facing the 26-County economy and it was confirmed that a further two billion euro is to be pumped into the collapsed Anglo-Irish Bank, now state owned.

After the latest figures showed an increase of 6,600 people signing on the dole in May, Sinn Fein Spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade and Employment Arthur Morgan criticised the Dublin government’s failure to create jobs, while pumping billions of euro into a “zombie bank”.

“All Fianna Fail’s ‘Smart Economy’ has delivered for the people of this island is a card to sign on,” Mr Morgan said.

“This summer, thousands of graduates are leaving our universities, our colleges, and our institutes of technology into an environment of uncertainty - there are no jobs, and the Government are trying to diminish social welfare payments.

“The Government cannot continue to gamble with the future of the people of this State on continuous recapitalisation of a zombie bank, while neglecting to make the necessary investment in people.”


There was uproar in the Dublin parliament this morning with a 15 minute suspension, two votes and a TD suspended in a row about next week’s business when the House will have no order nor business, questions, adjournment debates, and votes.

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny claimed the proposal was a “charade” while Labour leader Eamon Gilmore described the government plan for the ordering of business as unconstitutional and a “pretence”.

As the business of the day began, the former DUP leader Dr Ian Paisley and his wife Lady Eileen Paisley paid their first visit to the parliament. The couple received a round of applause from deputies and several stood in applause. All parties welcomed them to the House.

After witnessing the row for about 30 minutes, Dr Paisley and his wife continued their tour of Leinster House and visited the Seanad.

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