Judgment reserved on Seanad committee appeal on Callely ruling


The Supreme Court has reserved judgment on an appeal against a decision upholding the challenge by former senator Ivor Callely to a Seanad committee’s findings on his expense claims.

The appeal arose out of a January 2011 High Court finding of a breach of fair procedures in the Seanad Committee on Members Interests decision of July 2010 that Mr Callely had misrepresented his place of residence as west Cork when dealing with his expenses.

He was suspended for 20 days, with consequent loss of pay of nearly €17,000.

In his High Court judgment, Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill ruled Mr Callely was in compliance with the applicable definition of “normal place of residence” when he claimed his expenses. The committee and the Seanad had misdirected themselves in law, on this definition, the judge found.

The committee has argued in the Supreme Court that while he had complied with the Department of Finance definition of normal place of residence, the committee had been dealing with an issue of political ethics and whether Mr Callely had brought the House into disrepute.