IVOR CALLELY claimed a €140 “overnight” allowance on hundreds of occasions when attending the Seanad — even though he stayed in his Dublin home on the nights in question.
But the senator insisted he had done nothing wrong as he testified under oath at a Seanad investigation into his expenses yesterday.
The Seanad Committee on Members’ Interests is investigating whether Mr Callely misrepresented his normal place of residence to claim travel allowances.
Mr Callely’s family home is in Clontarf in Dublin, but following his appointment to the Seanad in 2007, he registered his holiday home in Kilcrohane, West Cork, as his primary residence. This allowed him claim substantially more in expenses.
Mr Callely confirmed yesterday that, in addition to travel allowances to cover his journeys from West Cork, he also claimed overnight allowances worth €139.67 a night in 2007, 2008 and 2009.
He admitted under questioning from Green senator Dan Boyle that when he travelled from West Cork, he stayed in his family home in Clontarf.
But Mr Callely said nothing in the regulations suggested the allowance had to be used to pay for accommodation: “I think it’s called subsistence. So it’s not necessarily that you have a hotel.”
He also told the visibly stunned seven-member committee that because he considered Kilcrohane his principal residence, he had paid the so-called “second home tax” on the family home in Dublin, even though the latter is listed as his home on the electoral register.
Mr Callely said the loss of his Dáil seat in May 2007 had an “an immediate and devastating effect on my social, domestic and personal life”.
The committee will meet Wednesday to hear evidence from an Oireachtas official.
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