Ivor Callely

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Ivor Callely
In office
August 2007 – April 2011
Constituency Nominated by the Taoiseach
Minister of State
for Services for Older People
In office
Preceded by Tom Moffatt
Succeeded by Office abolished
Minister of State
for Traffic Management, Road Haulage
and the Irish Aviation Authority
In office
Preceded by Jim McDaid
Succeeded by Pat the Cope Gallagher
Teachta Dála
In office
June 1989 – May 2007
Constituency Dublin North–Central
Personal details
Born (1958-05-06) 6 May 1958 (age 57)
County Dublin, Ireland
Nationality Irish
Political party Independent (2010–11)
Other political
Fianna Fáil
Spouse(s) Jennifer Foley
Children 3
Website ivorcallely.ie

Ivor Callely (born 6 May 1958) is a former Irish politician. He was a member of Seanad Éireann from 2007 to 2011, having been nominated by the Taoiseach. He was previously a Fianna Fáil Teachta Dála (TD) for the Dublin North–Central constituency from 1989 to 2007. Between 2002 and 2005 he served as a Minister of State.[1] He resigned from the Fianna Fáil party on 24 August 2010 due to an expenses controversy.[2]


Callely was born in Clontarf, Dublin and was educated locally. He first became involved in politics in 1985 when he was elected to Dublin Corporation. He was an unsuccessful candidate at the 1987 general election but was elected to Dáil Éireann at the 1989 general election and held his seat at the three subsequent general elections.[3] In 1991 he became the youngest chairperson of the Eastern Health Board. At the 1997 general election he received the fifth highest vote in the country. This was followed up at the 1999 local elections when he received the highest vote in the country. Between 1993 and 1995 he served as Assistant Chief Whip in Fianna Fáil. From 1995 to 1997 he served as Fianna Fáil Policy Co-ordinator.

In 2002 Callely was appointed Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children with special responsibility for services for older people. In Bertie Ahern's cabinet reshuffle of 2004 he became Minister of State at the Department of Transport where he had special responsibility for certain traffic management issues in Dublin and the major cities, road haulage and the Irish Aviation Authority.

On 8 December 2005, he resigned his cabinet post after an RTÉ News report that a building contractor involved in public contracts had painted his house for free in the early 1990s.[4][5] It was also revealed that Callely had offered to personally buy a new car for one of his civil service advisers, in an attempt to persuade the adviser not to leave their job. Callely's department had an unusually high turnover of staff for some time under his stewardship.[6]

He lost his seat at the 2007 general election and was also unsuccessful at the Seanad elections for the Industrial and Commercial Panel in 2007. He was subsequently appointed by the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern to the Seanad.

On 4 April 2011, Callely was fined €60 in court for using a mobile phone while driving.[7]

He did not contest the 2011 general election or the 2011 Seanad election.[3]

Complaint to Standards Commission[edit]

In 2005, the Standards in Public Office Commission received a complaint regarding an advertisement for the Operation Freeflow system which outlined traffic and travel arrangements in Dublin in the pre-Christmas period, and which featured a photograph of Callely, then Minister of State. The complainant was of the view that the Minister's appearance in the advertisement was a direct contravention of section 2.2.3 of the Code of Conduct for Office Holders as outlined above. The Standards Commission wrote to the complainant advising that they did not consider that the inclusion of a photograph of an office holder in an advertisement relating to a matter which encompassed his functions as an office holder was necessarily inappropriate. However, it also considered that the provisions of the code were insufficiently clear so as to distinguish between the appropriate use of a photograph of an office holder as part of a necessary advertising campaign and an inappropriate raising of profile in the context of a general election. The Standards Commission wrote to the Taoiseach and requested that the provisions of section 2.2.3 of the Code of Conduct for office holders be reviewed in order that office holders are provided with clear guidelines as to the circumstances in which public resources can be used in a way which avoids the inappropriate raising of profile in the context of a general election.[8]

2010 Expenses controversy[edit]

On 30 May 2010, it was revealed under a Freedom of Information Act request, that Callely had claimed expenses totalling €81,015 since 2007 for overnight and travel expenses to a house in County Cork.[9] Callely said that following the loss of his Dáil seat in 2007, he took up residence in Cork. After his nomination to the Seanad, Callely informed Oireachtas officials in December 2007 that his "current principal residence" was Kilcrohane, Bantry in County Cork, which is 370 km from Leinster House.[9]

The Irish Independent reported that he was still politically active in Dublin, ran a constituency office on the northside of Dublin and attended Fianna Fáil meetings locally.[10] On 1 June 2010, the Taoiseach Brian Cowen requested a written explanation from Callely about his expense claims.[11] Speaking in the Seanad on 2 June 2010, Callely insisted that he had fully complied with regulations.[12] He said that he had always made it clear that he had a residence in west Cork, as well as a home in Clontarf and a constituency office in Dublin North–Central.[12] He resigned the Fianna Fáil party whip on 5 June 2010.[13] He claimed a €140 "overnight" allowance on hundreds of occasions when attending the Seanad – even though he stayed in his Dublin home on the nights in question.[14]

In July 2010, the Oireachtas Select Committee on Members' Interests investigated Callely's travel expenses. It found that he had breached a section of the 2001 Standards in Public Office Act, by misrepresenting his normal place of residence for the purpose of claiming allowances. As a result, he was suspended from the Seanad for 20 days without pay.[15]

On 1 August 2010, the Irish Daily Mail revealed that in November 2007, Callely claimed €2,907 for mobile phone handsets and car kits purchased from a company called Business Communications Limited between 2002 and 2005.[16] This company had ceased trading in 1994, eight years before Callely's earliest claim. The departments of which he was a minister between 2002 and 2005 paid €33,000 in phone bills for his constituency office, mobile and home phones, including the purchase of new phones.

On 3 August 2010 following the revelations in the Irish Daily Mail, Callely was suspended without prejudice from the Fianna Fáil party pending the outcome of an internal investigation.[17]

On 23 August 2010, The Irish Times reported that a further complaint against Callely was received by the committee investigating his expenses claims, relating to his alleged failure to declare in his annual Oireachtas statement of interest all his property assets that are not for family use.[18]

He resigned from the Fianna Fáil organisation on 24 August 2010.[2] Senator Dan Boyle of the Green Party called on Callely to resign from the Seanad, saying that "the longer he serves as a Senator, the more discredit he brings on the Seanad."

Callely took a legal challenge to the Oireachtas committee that suspended him. It was heard in the High Court in October 2010. Lawyers for Callely told the court that the committee had portrayed him as 'a pariah' who had ripped off the State to the sum of €80,000, and as 'a chancer', 'a rogue', and 'thoroughly despicable'.[19] He sought to overturn his suspension, to declare that the committee erred in law, to halt further investigation against him and also financial damages. Several of his former Fianna Fáil colleagues, including Mary Hanafin, criticised him for dragging Oireachtas business into the courts.[20] The High Court ruled in Callely's favour. It found his right to fair procedures and natural justice had been breached. Justice Iarfhlaith O'Neill issued formal orders quashing the decision of the Committee and its resolution to suspend him. Callely was awarded €17,000 for loss of earnings during his 20-day suspension, as well as being awarded costs.[21] Callely said he was delighted with the result which clearly vindicated his position.[21]

The committee appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court, which voted 4–3 on 9 April 2014 to overturn the High Court ruling.[22]

He was arrested on 25 January 2012 concerning the allegations he had used forged receipts for mobile phone kits.[23]

He was convicted and in July 2014 he was sentenced to 5 months in prison[24]

After politics[edit]

On 27 April 2012, Callely was fined €150 in court for driving without an NCT disc displayed.[25]

In May 2012, the Irish Independent revealed that Callely was overpaid almost €6,000 in mileage expenses while he was a Minister of State in 2004–05. The error was discovered in 2010 but he has refused to pay back the money.[26] Callely was asked by the Department of Transport to make proposals for repayment on a goodwill basis, he replied that due to the need to devote his energy to other proceedings he was not in a position to deal with this issue.[26]

On 19 April 2013, Callely was arrested and taken to Clontarf Garda Station, where he was charged in connection with alleged fraud and theft offences.[27][28] The charges were reported to relate to an ongoing investigation about the alleged use of false invoices to claim expenses for the purchase of mobile phones. Later that day he was charged with six counts of using fraudulent instruments in the Dublin Criminal Courts of Justice.[29] He was granted bail on his own bond of €250.

On 3 March 2014, Callely pleaded guilty to making false mobile phone expenses claims while a member of the Oireachtas.[30]

On 28 July 2014, Callely was sentenced to 5 months in prison for fraudulently claiming mobile expenses at Leinster House while he was a senator. In passing sentence, Judge Mary Ellen Ring ruled that Callely's position at the time was an aggravating factor and said that a prison term was demanded by the public interest.[31] He served his sentence at Wheatfield Prison in Clondalkin, Dublin.


  1. ^ "Mr. Ivor Callely". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 22 March 2010. 
  2. ^ a b "Boyle urges Callely to resign from Seanád". RTÉ News. 25 August 2010. 
  3. ^ a b "Ivor Callely". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 20 March 2010. 
  4. ^ "Callely considers resigning amid controversy". RTÉ News. 7 December 2005. 
  5. ^ "Callely quits ministerial post – reports". RTÉ News. 8 December 2005. 
  6. ^ "Harney speaks out over Callely staffing". RTÉ News. 2 December 2005. 
  7. ^ "Ivor Callely fined over mobile phone use". RTÉ News. 4 April 2011. 
  8. ^ "Annual Report 2005". Standards in Public Office Commission. Retrieved 22 March 2010. 
  9. ^ a b Drennan, John (30 May 2010). "Callely got €80,000 mileage from Cork". Irish Independent. Retrieved 2 June 2010. 
  10. ^ Sheahan, Fionnan (31 May 2010). "Callely 'active' in Dublin despite €81,000 expenses claims from Cork". Irish Independent. Retrieved 2 June 2010. 
  11. ^ "Callely asked for explanation of expenses". RTÉ News. 1 June 2010. Retrieved 2 June 2010. 
  12. ^ a b "Ivor Callely defends expense claims". RTÉ News. 2 June 2010. Retrieved 2 June 2010. 
  13. ^ "Ivor Callely resigns FF party whip". RTÉ News. 5 June 2010. Retrieved 7 June 2010. 
  14. ^ "Callely's 'overnight' expenses for staying in Dublin home". Irish Examiner. 26 June 2010. Retrieved 27 June 2010. 
  15. ^ "Call for garda probe of Callely expenses". RTÉ News. 15 July 2010. Retrieved 16 July 2010. 
  16. ^ Byrne, Luke (1 August 2010). "Ivor Callely claimed expenses on forged invoices... Taxpayer defrauded". Irish Daily Mail (London). 
  17. ^ "Callely suspended by FF over expense allegations". The Irish Times. 3 August 2010. 
  18. ^ "Committee confirms new complaint against Callely". The Irish Times. 23 August 2010. 
  19. ^ "Callely legal challenge will be heard in Oct". RTÉ News. 7 September 2010. Retrieved 8 September 2010. 
  20. ^ Kelly, Fiach; McDonald, Dearbhail; Kerr, Aine (8 September 2010). "Callely: I'm no chancer and I want damages". Irish Independent. Retrieved 8 September 2010. 
  21. ^ a b "Ivor Callely awarded €17,000 by High Court". RTÉ News. 31 January 2011. Retrieved 4 April 2011. 
  22. ^ Healy, Tim (9 April 2014). "High Court decision in favour of Ivor Callelly overturned by Supreme Court". Irish Independent. Retrieved 9 April 2014. 
  23. ^ Callely arrested in probe over mobile phone receipts, TheJournal.ie, 25 January 2012
  24. ^ [1], Irish Times,2014-07-28
  25. ^ "Ivor Callely fined €150 for driving without NCT disc". RTÉ News. 27 April 2012. 
  26. ^ a b "Ivor Callely refuses to pay back €6k he was overpaid in expense". Irish Independent. 21 May 2012. 
  27. ^ "Ivor Callely appears in court over allegedly falsified expenses claims". thejournal.ie. 19 April 2013. Retrieved 20 April 2013. 
  28. ^ "Ivor Callely appears in court on charges relating to false invoices". RTÉ News. 19 April 2013. Retrieved 20 April 2013. 
  29. ^ "Callely charged with making bogus expenses claims". Irish Independent. 19 April 2013. Retrieved 20 April 2013. 
  30. ^ "Ivor Callely admits making false phone expenses claim". RTÉ News. 3 March 2014. 
  31. ^ "Ivor Callely jailed for five months for fraudulently claiming expenses". RTÉ News. 28 July 2014. 
Preceded by
George Birmingham
(Fine Gael)
Fianna Fáil Teachta Dála for Dublin North–Central
Succeeded by
Seat eliminated
Political offices
Preceded by
Tom Moffatt
Minister of State for Services for Older People
Succeeded by
Office abolished
Preceded by
Jim McDaid
Minister of State for Traffic Management, Road Haulage and the Irish Aviation Authority
Succeeded by
Pat the Cope Gallagher