Ivor Callely

Ivor Callely (born 6 May 1958) is an Irish former politician who served as a Fianna Fáil Teachta Dála (TD) for the Dublin North-Central constituency from 1989 to 2007 and a member of Seanad Éireann from 2007 to 2011, having been nominated by the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern. 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 scandal.[2]

Ivor Callely
In office
August 2007  April 2011
ConstituencyNominated by the Taoiseach
Minister of State
for Services for Older People
In office
TaoiseachBertie Ahern
Preceded byTom Moffatt
Succeeded byOffice abolished
Minister of State
for Traffic Management, Road Haulage
and the Irish Aviation Authority
In office
TaoiseachBertie Ahern
Preceded byJim McDaid
Succeeded byPat "the Cope" Gallagher
Teachta Dála
In office
June 1989  May 2007
ConstituencyDublin North-Central
Personal details
Born (1958-05-06) 6 May 1958
County Dublin, Ireland
Political partyIndependent (2010–11)
Other political
Fianna Fáil
Spouse(s)Jennifer Foley

Early life

Callely was born in Clontarf, Dublin and was educated at St Paul's College, Raheny.


Callely 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, Callely 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]

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

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

Complaint to Standards Commission

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]

Expenses scandal

On 30 May 2010, a Freedom of Information Act request revealed 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] Following pressure from the then Taioseach Brian Cowen,[11] Callely resigned the Fianna Fáil party whip on 5 June 2010.[12] 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.[13]

Following further revelations about Callely's expenses in August 2010,[14] he was suspended without prejudice from the Fianna Fáil party pending the outcome of an internal investigation.[15] A further complaint against Callely followed later that month[16] and he resigned from the Fianna Fáil organisation on 24 August.[2]

Arrests and conviction

Callely was arrested on 25 January 2012 concerning allegations he had used forged receipts for mobile phone kits.[17] He was arrested again in April 2013, and taken to Clontarf Garda Station, where he was charged in connection with alleged fraud and theft offences.[18][19] 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.[20] In March 2014, Callely pleaded guilty to making false mobile phone expenses claims while a member of the Oireachtas,[21] and was convicted in July 2014 and sentenced to 5 months in prison.[22] 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.[23] He served his sentence at Wheatfield Prison in Clondalkin, Dublin.

Separately, on 27 April 2012, Callely was fined €150 in court for driving without an NCT disc displayed.[24]

In May 2012, the Irish Independent also revealed that Callely was overpaid almost €6,000 in mileage expenses while he was a Minister of State from 2004 to 2005. This error (separate to the invoice fraud) was discovered in 2010 but he had refused to pay back the money.[25] When 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 the issue at that time.[25]

In May 2016 a bench order was again issued for Callely's arrest, when he failed to attend a court sitting relating to non-payment of a debt.[26] It was subsequently reported on Tuesday 17 May that Callely had already made arrangements to pay this debt and therefore did not need to appear in court. This was explained as a breakdown in communication. It was reported on Wednesday 18 May however that this was not the case, that there was no breakdown of communication and that no arrangements had been made to pay the debt.[27]


  1. "Ivor Callely". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 22 March 2010.
  2. "Boyle urges Callely to resign from Seanád". RTÉ News. 25 August 2010.
  3. "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. Archived from the original on 19 July 2011. Retrieved 22 March 2010.
  9. 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 facing loss of party whip". Independent.ie. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  12. "Ivor Callely resigns FF party whip". RTÉ News. 5 June 2010. Retrieved 7 June 2010.
  13. "Callely's 'overnight' expenses for staying in Dublin home". Irish Examiner. 26 June 2010. Retrieved 27 June 2010.
  14. Byrne, Luke (1 August 2010). "Ivor Callely claimed expenses on forged invoices... Taxpayer defrauded". Irish Daily Mail. London.
  15. "Callely suspended by FF over expense allegations". The Irish Times. 3 August 2010.
  16. "Committee confirms new complaint against Callely". The Irish Times. 23 August 2010.
  17. "Callely arrested in probe over mobile phone receipts", TheJournal.ie, 25 January 2012.
  18. "Ivor Callely appears in court over allegedly falsified expenses claims". thejournal.ie. 19 April 2013. Retrieved 20 April 2013.
  19. "Ivor Callely appears in court on charges relating to false invoices". RTÉ News. 19 April 2013. Retrieved 20 April 2013.
  20. "Callely charged with making bogus expenses claims". Irish Independent. 19 April 2013. Retrieved 20 April 2013.
  21. "Ivor Callely admits making false phone expenses claim". RTÉ News. 3 March 2014.
  22. "Ivor Callely sentenced to five months in prison", The Irish Times, 28 July 2014.
  23. "Ivor Callely jailed for five months for fraudulently claiming expenses". RTÉ News. 28 July 2014.
  24. "Ivor Callely fined €150 for driving without NCT disc". RTÉ News. 27 April 2012.
  25. "Ivor Callely refuses to pay back €6k he was overpaid in expense". Irish Independent. 21 May 2012.
  26. "Judge Issues Bench Warrant for Arrest of Ivor Callely". Irish Times. 17 May 2016.
  27. "Lawyers reject claim disgraced politician Callely had settled case before arrest warrant issued". Irish Independent. 18 May 2016.
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
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