Callely released without charge after night in cell

Fri, Jan 27, 2012, 00:00

FORMER FIANNA Fáil TD and minister of state Ivor Callely was released from Garda custody without charge yesterday after being questioned over allegations he claimed expenses for mobile phones on falsified receipts.

The investigation into Mr Callely will continue. A file on the matter will be prepared for the DPP, who will consider if the evidence gathered by gardaí should result in a criminal prosecution.

Mr Callely (53) was released from Irishtown Garda station in Dublin’s south inner city shortly after midday yesterday. He had been held in the station overnight, sleeping in a cell.

A large group of journalists, photographers and TV cameramen had gathered outside the station in anticipation of his release at lunchtime. Mr Callely did not answer any questions.

His solicitor, Noel O’Hanrahan, read a short prepared statement. “Mr Callely has been detained under section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act, which gives the Garda Síochána the power to investigate complaints.

“Mr Callely has now been released. Mr Callely is completely and totally innocent of any wrongdoing.”

The former Dáil deputy, minister of state and Senator had been arrested at about midday on Wednesday close to his home on St Laurence’s Road in Clontarf, north Dublin. He was taken by members of the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation across the city to Irishtown station for questioning. His home in Clontarf was searched, as was his former constituency office in Killester and his holiday home in Cork .

He was arrested on suspicion of alleged breaches of a section of the Theft and Fraud Offences Act, which prohibits the commission of fraud using “false instruments”.

If an offence of using false or fraudulent paperwork – known under law as a “false instrument” – were proven, it would carry a sanction on conviction of up to 10 years’ imprisonment.

The allegations Mr Callely was questioned about centre on receipts he lodged with the Oireachtas over a number of years to support claims for mobile phones and telephone car kits over a number of years totalling some €3,000.

Some 18 months ago, a newspaper report following a Freedom of Information request revealed a company on whose headed paper the receipts were lodged had ceased trading years before the dates on which Mr Callely claimed he availed of its services.