On 28th August last year I submitted a formal complaint to the Standards in Public Office Commission relating to expense claims made by Senator Ivor Callely (Complaint reproduced below).
I received a judgement last Friday informing me that the Commission found no basis on which to initiate an investigation.
My reply to the judgement.
Thank you for your efforts in this matter. I would have been truly astonished if the outcome had been otherwise.
The judgement is worth reading because it demonstrates just how slyly intelligent our politicians are when it comes to looking after their own interests.
I predict that this era of legal corruption is very close to an end.
(My emphasis throughout)
4 February 2010 (sic)
Dear Mr Sheridan,
I refer to previous correspondence to the Standards in Public Office Commission (Standards Commission) concerning a complaint about Senator Ivor Callely relating to expenses claims made by him while he was a Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children.
The Standards Commission sought and received copies of the expenses claims from the Secretary General of the Department, Mr Michael Scanlan.
It also asked the Secretary General to set out the relevant rules under which Ministers of State were allowed to claim mileage expenses at the time and to set out the steps taken by the then Secretary General at the time in his capacity as Accounting Officer to secure compliance with those rules.
The Secretary General replied stating that Government decisions of 16 September 1983 and of 7 February 1984 regulate the payment of mileage claims by Ministers of State.
He said that under those decisions the head of a department shall certify mileage claims for Ministers of State on being provided with a statement, certified by the Minister of State concerned, that the mileage travelled was for official purposes only.
The following are the relevant sections of the decisions:
16 September 1983
“3(a) that the new arrangements, in respect of Ministers of State,… should be made with effect from the 1st October, 1983,… that in all cases the arrangements under which they would provide their own cars in place of State cars, should be on the basis of a mileage allowance being paid in respect of mileage, other than that unrelated to their Office, and civilian drivers being provided by the state in lieu of Garda drivers”
“(b) that the mileage rates payable in respect of (a) above should be those applicable to members of the judiciary, subject to payment in respect of not more than 60,000 miles a year in each case,”
7 February 1984
“the Government following further consideration of the matter, agreed that paragraph 3(a) of that decision (of 16th September 1983) should be amended by the addition of
“such mileage allowances shall be payable and certified by the relevant accounting officer on the basis of a statement to be furnished from time to time by the office-holder certifying the total mileage travelled and related to the office in the car provided by the office holder in place of a state car, in the period covered by the claim.”
The Secretary General also stated that all payments were made on the basis of claims certified by the Minister of State concerned in accordance with those decisions. He said that on occasion some claims were queried by the (then) Secretary General but paid on the basis of certification by the Minister of State concerned.
Having considered your complaint in light of the documentary evidence provided, the rules under which the claims were dealt with and the observations of the Department’s Secretary General, the Standards Commission has decided that there is no basis on which to initiate an investigation under the Ethics in Public Office Acts 1995 and 2001.
28th August 2010
To Whom It May Concern,
I wish to formally lodge a complaint under the Ethics in Public Office Acts 1995.
The complaint concerns an article in the Sunday Tribune newspaper on the 22nd August 2010 which outlined the following expense claims made by then junior minister, Ivor Callely.
Claimed 5,000 miles per month in expenses during his term as junior minister at the Department of Health even though he lived less than three miles from his office.
Claimed for the 5,000 miles (the maximum allowed) even when he had been out of the country on government business, including March 2003 when he was away for at least eight days on trips to France, England, Malta and Slovakia
Claimed the maximum allowed mileage for May 2003 even though he spent seven days in the US during that month.
Claimed for more than a dozen dining expenses at the Leinster House restaurant. These particular claims were questioned by the department but were eventually paid out.
I request that these claims be investigated to clarify what appear to be very serious inconsistencies.
I include below a full reproduction of the newspaper article