Personal Statement by Member

Senator Callely wishes to make a personal statement. Before calling the Senator, I make it clear that I will not allow any debate on the matter. Once the personal explanation has been made, the matter will be closed.

I thank you, a Chathaoirligh, for giving me the opportunity to make this statement to the House. I am conscious of the comments of my colleagues on the media presentation of my expenses and I very much regret any distraction for this House and its Members. I am equally conscious of my family, wider circle of friends and loyal supporters. I recognise the difficulties this matter has caused and I am prepared to co-operate to address all issues satisfactorily.

Most people will appreciate that this issue is difficult to address by way of a simple statement here today. The expenses regime is complex and there are anomalies in the system. Like others, I am deeply upset and concerned at the presentation of my expenses and the negative complexion this has put on me, this House and the profession of politics. As the matter is complex and there is a full file of documents that clearly indicate my position from the time of my appointment to Seanad Éireann to the present day, I most respectfully request that I be afforded the opportunity to go before the Select Committee on Members' Interests and submit myself to its investigation into this matter and assessment of any wrongdoing, if any.

The original media story was based on freedom of information requests which, in their published form, do not give a full picture. I am satisfied that the select committee should consider all documents relating to my file to enable it to obtain the full facts of the case. I have always indicated that I have a west Cork residence, a Clontarf home and a constituency office in Dublin North-Central. I travel from all three, depending on circumstances, to fulfil my Seanad duties. I understand I have complied with the regulations. There are anomalies in the expenses regime which warrant consideration and I have raised such matters with the Oireachtas. As the issue of expenses is very complex, I hope the select committee will investigate all issues relating to my case and come to a speedy conclusion. I will fully co-operate with the select committee and comply with any and all requests and directions given by it. I look forward to a speedy and satisfactory conclusion of the issue.