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THE findings that the nomadic senator Ivor Callely misrepresented his normal place of residence for the purpose of claiming allowances must not be concluded without him being obliged, in law, promptly to repay these allowances in full and with interest.
A personal undertaking to repay – given on June 25 – is not sufficient in the light of the Seanad committee’s findings.
The committee declared this transgression to be of a grave and serious nature and inconsistent with the maintenance of confidence in an officer of the state performing the function of the office.
If there is any obfuscation with respect to prompt repayment this case will become the poster child defence for everyone and anyone who might take it upon themselves to bleed the resources of the state.
No other state employee against whom comparable allegations are made would be similarly indulged with a public hearing, broadcast live, requiring resources at a significant incremental cost to the taxpayer and a process reminiscent of the complexity of a tribunal of inquiry.
The public system would convulse as a consequence with regulatory and procedural weaknesses facilitating exploitative practices.
Voters are very astute and shrewd. They can see through the myriad of investigations launched by the state at enormous expense involving the interminable peering at fog through a periscope without ever identifying daylight, lest it would disturb the fig leaves behind which some are inclined conveniently to repose.
Irish voters will identify daylight at the next opportunity when confronted with the choice of electing individuals who are enriching themselves at public expense.
They will emulate the example of the British electorate lasy May if unimpeachable integrity is not maintained and due process not fully executed to their satisfaction.
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