Senator vows to block Callely’s return

ANY attempt by Ivor Callely to resume his Seanad seat today cannot be tolerated and must be blocked by the Oireachtas authorities, a fellow senator has said.

The Seanad resumes this afternoon following the 11-week summer recess, but Mr Callely has been suspended for 20 days without pay following an investigation into his expenses.

Mr Callely has gone to court seeking to challenge the findings made by the Seanad committee which recommended that suspension.

Last week, he turned up at a hearing of one of the Oireachtas committees on which he sits – leading to speculation that he would similarly turn up at the Seanad today when the new session begins.

But Fine Gael senator and barrister Eugene Regan said any such attempt should be blocked.

He pointed out the Seanad had passed a resolution accepting the recommendation to suspend Mr Callely, who would need an injunction to counteract it.

Given that Mr Callely did not have such an injunction, the Oireachtas authorities should not tolerate any attempt by him to take his seat, Mr Regan said.

“Speculation is rife about whether or not Mr Callely, on the back of his High Court action against the committee, will present himself for business when the Seanad reconvenes. However without an injunction blocking the Seanad’s resolution from having effect, the resolution still stands. If he attempts to take his seat the Cathaoirleach, Pat Moylan, will have to call upon the Captain of the Guard in the House and have him ejected from the chamber. He is not entitled to take his seat and if he attempts to do so I will personally seek to have him removed,” Mr Regan added.

“Any notion Ivor Callely has of taking his Seanad seat, thus violating his 20-day suspension, should be forgotten completely.”

The Fine Gael senator said he had written to the Cathaoirleach asking him to ensure that the Seanad committee investigating Mr Callely’s expenses now determine under what circumstances, if any, he can resume his seat after the 20-day suspension period.

“Under existing legislation Mr Callely has been suspended from the Upper House until he regularises and makes good his allowance affairs and ceases misrepresenting his normal place of residence, which he, so far, has not done,” Mr Regan said. “As a matter of law Mr Callely has been indefinitely suspended until he complies with the committee’s directions.”

The Seanad committee found Mr Callely had deliberately misrepresented his normal place of residence to claim travel-related expenses. It is investigating other aspects of his expenses.

But Mr Callely has gone to the courts seeking a judicial review of the committee’s findings.


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