SENATOR Ivor Callely’s legal action aimed at quashing a finding that he misrepresented his normal place of residence in order to claim expenses will commence before the High Court on Tuesday.
The senator is seeking orders from the court aimed at quashing the Seanad’s Select Committee’s of Members’ Interests decision that Mr Callely had intentionally misrepresented his normal place of residence as Kilcrohane, Bantry, Co Cork, in order to claim allowances.
As a result of the committee’s findings he received a 20-day suspension from the Seanad.
Yesterday the President of the High Court Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns informed the parties the matter had been “given priority” and that Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O Neill had been assigned to hear the case.
Lawyers for the senator had earlier this month sought permission to have the findings judicially reviewed by the High Court.
However it was agreed to adjourn the matter to yesterday with a view of getting the case heard in early October.
The court also heard yesterday Mr Callely’s legal team intends to bring a motion seeking the discovery of transcripts taken during a number of private sessions conducted by the committee members during the course of the hearing of the complaints against the Senator.
Michael O’Higgins SC for the senator informed Mr Justice Kearns the transcripts of up to eight private sessions conducted by the committee during the course of their hearings into the allegations against Mr Callely, which may be of relevance to the action, had been sought. However in a letter the committee had refused to furnish them.
Counsel for the committee Eileen Barrington BL said the transcripts from those sessions would not be provided because they are privileged.
In response Mr Justice Kearns said any dispute concerning the transcripts would have to be considered by Mr Justice O Neill during the hearing. The hearing is expected to last for three days.
In his proceedings Mr Callely claims the committee erred in law in arriving at their decision and did not afford him fair procedures. As a result of the report he has been portrayed as “a rogue politician” who “ripped off the taxpayer”.
He is seeking a number of declarations and orders including that the report findings are quashed and declared null and void. The senator is also seeking damages. The committee is opposing the challenge.
The members of that committee are Senators Pat Moylan (FF) who is also Seanad Cathaoirleach Camilus Glynn (FF) Denis O’Donovan (FF) Joe O’Toole (Independent), Alex White (Labour), Frances Fitzgerald (Fine Gael) and Dan Boyle (Greens.)
Mr Callely has argued the only complaint before the committee was he had misrepresented his normal place of residence. He claims during their investigation the committee erred in law by confusing the meaning of the definition of what is a normal place of residence.
However Mr Callely has argued his claim for expenses from Bantry was validly made under the definition of a member’s “normal place of residence”.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved