FF holds back Callely inquiry names

 

Fianna Fáil has said it will not release the names of the five members of its national executive on the internal committee investigating expenses claims made by Senator Ivor Callely.

On Tuesday, the party named Colm Ó hOisín SC as the independent chairman of the committee. A spokeswoman today said the party had decided not to name the remaining members.

The committee, drawn from the national executive of Fianna Fáil, convened on Monday for about two hours to begin its investigation into Mr Callely's claim for almost €3,000 in mobile phone expenses using invoices from a company that went out of business a decade ago.

It is expected to present a report of its findings at the next meeting of the full national executive in early September. The report can recommend three options: no action; suspension for a period of time; or full expulsion from the party.

A Seanad committee is also holding a separate inquiry into the Senator's mobile phone invoice claims. The committee has already suspended Mr Callely for 20 sitting days of Seanad Éireann following its finding that he was not entitled to claim his west Cork holiday home as his normal residence for expenses purposes.

Mr Callely had claimed over €80,000 in travel and subsistence expenses from his holiday home after being nominated to the Seanad in 2007.

The latest revelations showed that four separate claims for mobile phone equipment over five years were based on documentation from a mobile phone company that was no longer in operation.

On Saturday, some six days after the new information came to light, Mr Callely released a statement accepting that the telephone company was no longer in existence.

He also maintained that he had submitted the claims and the invoices in good faith. Mr Callely has now returned the sums claimed to the Oireachtas.

Last week, Mr Callely's membership of the Fianna Fáil party was temporarily suspended on the orders of Taoiseach Brian Cowen pending the outcome of the investigation.