IVOR CALLELY says that, since the Seanad investigation of his expenses, he has been wrongly portrayed as a “rogue politician, milking the system and ripping off taxpayers”.
In a sworn affidavit to the High Court, Mr Callely said he had been “pilloried and subjected to personal abuse from total strangers” and, effectively, placed “under siege” by the media.
Mr Callely is seeking to challenge the Seanad committee, which found he had intentionally misrepresented his normal place of residence to claim expenses.
His senior counsel, Michael O’Higgins, applied to the court yesterday for a judicial review of the committee’s findings.
Mr Justice Sean Ryan adjourned the application, however, and it is now expected to be heard on October 4, five days after the Seanad is set to resume.
It is not yet clear whether this will affect the 20-day suspension from the Seanad imposed on Mr Callely as a result of the committee’s findings.
However, Mr Justice Ryan said the case was one of “considerable complexity” and it would be unwise to rush it.
The Seanad committee found that, in claiming circa €81,000 of travel expenses from his holiday home in Kilcrohane, West Cork, rather than the family home in Clontarf, Dublin, Mr Callely had committed an act of a “serious and grave nature” by “misrepresenting his normal place of residence”.
But in his affidavit, Mr Callely said the committee had “erred in law” while carrying out its investigation.
He said his West Cork holiday home fitted the definition of “normal place of residence” as laid out by the Department of Finance. This definition refers to “a premises which, though not necessarily one’s permanent and principal abode, is used for a period which is both of some length and for a purpose which is not ad hoc and goes beyond mere shelter in passage, such as a few nights in a hotel”.
Mr Callely said this definition was the “lynchpin” upon which the complaint had to be investigated.
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