Yesterday Sen Callely said in respect of the property in West Cork that he was claiming allowances and mileage from that “I have a right to reside in west Cork but it’s not in my ownership.” This was in response to questioning from Sen. Joe O’Toole who asked if he owned the property in west Cork. So he has the right to live there but he does not own it. Ivor Callely has also repeatedly alluded to personal family conditions that make his being totally transparent about his living situation more difficult.
So it is beginning to look like Ivor, at some point in the recent past, might have been too clever by half and that all “his” property is not in his name at all but rather it is in his wife’s or other family members names and that this might be the cause of some difficulty for him in establishing what is and is not his principal residence. Cos he might well own nothing and have no rental agreement with anyone and thus not be able to prove that he in fact lives or has a principal residence anywhere. Just why, you might ask, would someone transfer ownership of their assets to others? Well, one situation in which it would make sense was if you were a public representative and wanted to avoid declaring these interests in the declaration of members interests. Did Ivor Callely do this? I don’t know and I’m not going to say he did this.
It is also worth noting that “Mr Callely told the committee the house in west Cork had been for sale since “04/05-ish”. He said he had never denied it was for sale and insisted he would not benefit, in terms of capital gains tax liability, if it was sold.” So he won’t benefit from it at all, again seeming to mean he does not own it or have a financial interest in it. But this begs the questions did he ever own it and if he did when and why did he transfer the ownership.
Now let’s review someone else whose family situation meant they couldn’t be 100% clear with the public about their finances, former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern. Bertie had a legal separation agreement with his wife and the terms and details of this could not be made public. This meant we, the taxpayers and as voters his employers, couldn’t find out exactly what he owned and when he got it or what he transferred to her and his children once the separation was agreed. All very inconvenient the Taoiseach told us as it might he couldn’t be completely transparent with us the voters though he really really wanted to be.
One other thing which is probably entirely unrelated, as we were assured that the former Taoiseach was a God fearing man and didn’t hold with this sort of thing, is the provisions of divorce law in Ireland. These say you might, in order to file for divorce, need to show that you had been legally separated from your spouse for or living apart for a number of years before a divorce might be granted. I’m not sure if this legal agreement needs to actually be publicly available or acknowledged once it is drawn up all proper and legal like and is agreeable to both parties. So such an agreement might exist and we the public would be none the wiser.
One can imagine the situation and in truth rather untenable legal position that a person might hypothetically find themselves in if say they had transferred all their property to their spouse for some reason or other and were years later to find themselves because of changed personal circumstances agreeing a separation agreement with their spouse. After all, once their spouse’s name was on the property they couldn’t legally argue that it was meant to be still their property really. It’s like something out of a badly plotted rom-com.
But back to Ivor, and away from these hypothetical and entirely unconnected people, he continues to defend himself before the Seanad committee who are it seems are bullying him, just like some other people were bullying Sen. Mullen last week. To add insult to injury it turns out the state is fronting Ivor €50 to turn up to an investigation into his circumstances. You couldn’t make this stuff up.