Callely ‘constructive and popular’ say the Danes

IVOR Callely is highly regarded and popular – in Denmark.

Here at home, the attitude of fellow politicians towards him is colder than the Baltic.

But among the Danes, Mr Callely still has friends – even if his expense claims resemble a Hans Christian Anderson fairytale.

The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, based in Denmark, can’t say enough about him.

Carlsberg don’t do political praise, but if they did, they might look something like the OSCE’s glowing tribute to Mr Callely.

The OSCE seeks to promote international security and comprises 56 member states. It developed out of a 1975 conference which brought together the Cold War rivals into an organisation “whose activities promote peace and stability from Vancouver to Vladivostock”.

Fianna Fáil and the opposition might want to banish Mr Callely to Vladivostock, but not the OSCE.

Each member state appoints representatives to the OSCE’s “parliamentary assembly”, which facilitates dialogue between politicians.

Mr Callely is one of the Irish appointees – and the OSCE can’t get enough of him, even making him vice-chair of a committee.

“Ivor Callely, the head of the Irish delegation to the OSCE parliamentary assembly, is, and has been for a long time, the most active Irish parliamentarian that our assembly has ever had,” says the OSCE’s director of communications, Klas Bergman.

“He is a popular and constructive member of our assembly and has made valuable contributions to our work.”

The OSCE even wished Mr Callely well as he faces two investigations over allegedly forged mobile phone receipts submitted to the Oireachtas. Mr Callely has already been suspended from the Seanad for 20 days after a previous investigation found he had deliberately misrepresented his normal place of residence to claim expenses.

“We are sorry to learn of the difficulties that you describe concerning Mr Callely, and we hope things will work out for him,” Mr Bergman said.

Mr Callely appears to return the affection, making no secret of his displeasure at being summoned back from an OSCE conference in Oslo last month to appear before the Seanad committee investigating his expenses.

Mr Callely told the committee that the OSCE had initially regarded him as “another revolving door”, before changing their view of him.

“Shut the door on your way out,” on the other hand, might be a more appropriate description of what the Seanad thinks of him.

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