Former minister Ivor Callely is unlikely to be pursued further for nearly €6,000 in overpaid mileage expenses that he received and which department officials have been chasing for two years.
The ex-Fianna Fáil TD has, so far, refused to pay back the amounts which relate to expenses that he claimed over the top for and along with other refunds that he claimed twice for several years ago.
The mistaken payments were only discovered in 2010 but Mr Callely has not returned the amounts involved over the last two years, despite repeated requests. The mileage expenses were claimed by him in 2004 and 2005 when he was a junior minister at the department of transport.
Department officials found Mr Callely claimed mileage expenses for April 2005 on two separate occasions, which resulted in an accidental overpayment of €3,257. The previous year, the then-minister claimed for 4,000 miles travelling to various meetings at a rate to which he was not entitled.
Department rules said that Mr Callely was entitled to be paid up to 4,000 miles per year at the highest mileage rate of €1.39 per mile, and a lower rate of 65c for every mile after that.
But officials discovered Mr Callely had already been paid for 4,000 miles while serving as junior health minister earlier that year.
Mr Callely was not entitled to the higher rate he claimed and received from the department which resulted in an overpayment of €2,981, documents show.
Despite the near €6,000 overpayment, it is unlikely the money will be pursued.
“It would have cost too much to pursue it rather than rely on his goodwill,” said a department source.
Mr Callely had told officials he was devoting his attention and resources to an ongoing court matter when asked to reimburse the funds.
The documents show that officials were later given advice that they had no legal basis to force him to pay the money back and that it was the department’s error that the amounts were paid.
Mr Callely did not return phone calls yesterday.
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