Gardaí seeking Callely clarification


The Garda Commissioner has tonight written to the clerk of the Seanad "seeking clarification of certain matters" relating to the expenses claims of Senator Ivor Callely.

A Garda spokesman said the force had received a number of requests seeking Garda investigations into allegations recently published in the media concerning a "named member of Seanad Eireann".

"These matters are currently being considered in the context of what action is required by An Garda Siochana," he said.

The most recent allegations against Mr Callely relate to the use of mobile phone receipts from a company that had ceased trading.

Green Party TD Paul Gogary today lodged an official complaint with the gardaí about Mr Callely's expenses claims.

Mr Gogarty, who wrote to the  Seanad Committee on Members’ Interests yesterday seeking an inquiry into Senator’s alleged conduct, went to Lucan Garda station in west Dublin asking for an investigation to be carried out.

Fianna Fáil last night suspended Mr Callely “without prejudice” from membership of the party, pending an internal invquiry into allegations of “conduct unbecoming” a member of the organisation.

Mr Callely, who resigned the Fianna Fáil whip in June, claimed almost €3,000 from the Oireachtas for the purchase of mobile phones and related services from a company which Companies Registration Office records show ceased trading years earlier.

He was last month deemed to have misrepresented his normal place of residence for the purposes of claiming expenses by the Committee on Members’ Interests. The committee’s report said Mr Callely should be suspended from the Seanad for 20 days and have his salary withheld because the misrepresentation was done “intentionally and was of a grave nature”.

Mr Gogarty, a Dublin Mid-West TD, said today he made the move because of public anger. “In that context, I went to the Garda station... requested an investigation formally, acknowledge that I have no role in influencing the investigation in any way, except to bring it to their attention, and gave my details,” Mr Gogarty said.

Mr Gogarty, who also handed in two copies of a Sunday newspaper report detailing the latest allegations, said a garda at Lucan told him an investigation would be carried out.

A Garda spokesman said he could not comment on individual cases.

Mr Gogarty has already written to the Seanad Committee requesting “a formal investigation” into the allegations.

“I believe that the questions raised by this article and in subsequent media deliberations require urgent investigation by the committee and indeed Seanad Éireann, particularly in light of the decision to suspend said member on July 14th last,” Mr Gogarty wrote.

“I make no allegations regarding the Senator’s behaviour in relation to the above article as there may well be a rational explanation in relation to same. However, there are clearly questions that need to be answered through a public investigation at the earliest opportunity,” he added.

Mr Gogarty also inquired whether a Senator could be subject to “a further suspension being made should he or she fail to address questions still hanging”.

Last night’s suspension of Mr Callely took place at the instigation of Taoiseach Brian Cowen.

Sources said the Taoiseach contacted Fianna Fáil general secretary Seán Dorgan on Monday and asked him to seek a response from Mr Callely to the latest allegations about his expenses.

However, Mr Callely did not return phone calls and yesterday he was suspended, pending an investigation by five members of the party’s national executive.