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Posts Tagged ‘ Senate ’

Callely Freed Following Overnight Stay Behind Bars

Former junior minister Ivor Callely has been released from garda custody after a night in jail following his arrest stemming from alleged irregularities regarding mobile phone expenses he claimed from 2002 – 2006 while working as a Senator. He remains uncharged.

The former Fianna Fáil TD has previously admitted that receipts he submitted in order to claim over €2,800 were on the headed notepaper of a defunct company – Business Communications – that had ceased trading in the 1990s. He said he did not know how this had happened and subsequently withdrew the claims and refunded the money.

Solicitor Noel O’Hanrahan has claimed his client is “completely and totally innocent of any wrongdoing.” A file has been sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Mr Callely was arrested by fraud squad detectives at his home at St Laurence’s Road, Clontarf yesterday afternoon. Gardai searched this property, his former constituency office on the Howth Road and his holiday home in Kilcrohane, West Cork.

Suspicions regarding the claims were aroused in August 2010 when former Green Party TD Paul Gogarty made an official Garda complaint over what he saw as Mr Callely’s misuse of the expenses system. The Standards in Public Office Commission examined the claims and filed a report.

Mr Callely is no stranger to controversy – resigning the same month after becoming embroiled in a scandal when it emerged he had erroneously claimed allowances worth €81,000 over three years for living in his holiday home in Cork. He was handed a 20-day suspension from the Seanad, but the High Court subsequently overturned the order, ruling that he had not been given a chance to defend himself.

Mr Callely was first elected as a TD in Dublin North Central in 1989 and lost his seat in 2007. Between 2002 and 2005, he held junior ministries in health and transport. He quit his ministerial post in 2005 when it emerged a company involved in public contracts had painted his house for free.

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Norris Campaign Ends Amidst Controversy

Senator David Norris has announced that he is to withdraw from the race to be the next Irish president after his campaign became emroiled in controversy.

The Senator made the much anticipated announcement during a press conference in Dublin today.

Mr Norris` campaign grinded to a sudden halt this week after two of his main aides resigned from his campaign, citing his role in aiding a convict, who was an ex partner, to obtain leniency from authorities. Earlier today, three politicians  who had backed Norris withdrew their support thus making Norris` position as a candidate in the presidential race untenable. 

It emerged the senator and equality campaigner had written a clemency letter to Israeli authorities 14 years ago for his former partner, who was convicted of having sex with a 15-year-old boy.

Mr Norris said he deeply regretted the controversy concerning his former partner, Ezra Nawi, but not the writing of the letter.

“The fall-out from his disgraceful behaviour has now spread to me and is in danger of contaminating others close to me both in my political and personal life,” he said. “It is essential that I act decisively now to halt this negative process.”

“I do not regret supporting and seeking clemency for a friend, but I do regret giving the impression that I did not have sufficient compassion for the victim of Ezra’s crime.”

Norris was widely regarded by many as the most favoured successor to Mary McAleese, but now with the October election looming it looks like a tense battle for the Àras between Labour candidate Michael D Higgins and Fine Gael`s Gay Mitchell.

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