SENATOR IVOR CALLELY has made what he says is his final contribution in the Seanad – by quoting from the Gospel according to John.
In the Seanad’s Order of Business this morning – in what will almost certainly be the last open exchange in the house before the Dáil is dissolved for the general election – Callely said he welcomed the ruling of the High Court earlier this month to quash his suspension from the Seanad last year.
After starting by congratulating the organisers of Ireland’s first conference on the rights of the citizen, due to take place later this month, Callely – who is still trying to sell his now-infamous holiday home in Kilcrohane, Co Cork – placed on the record the state of the property market.
2010 was, he noted, “an extremely difficult year, and we believe 2011 will be challenging – but at least in some areas there are signs of improvement, which of course are to be welcomed.”
Having laid the ground work, Callely asked the advice of the Seanad’s Cathaoirleach Pat Moylan on how he would be able to mark himself as abstaining on a critical matter on today’s Seanad agenda – a motion instructing the Seanad’s lawyers to appeal the ruling in Callely’s case to the Supreme Court.
Holding up a copy of the High Court ruling, he began…
I would just take this opportunity to say I am particularly pleased and delighted with Mr Justice O’Neill’s determination, made on…
…before he was interrupted by Moylan, who had been prompted that Callely was hoping to read details of the ruling into the record.
Having been told that his speech had exceeded the two allowed minutes, the Cathaoirleach tried to dismiss Callely by simply asking him to revisit the matter when it was reached on the agenda.
“Can I just conclude, then, by saying a passage… I’m going to conclude with a passage that is very merited at this moment, a passage from the Bible, which mark my last words in the Seanad.”
Quoting John 8:23, as the Cathaoirleach rang the bell and tried to silence him, he concluded:
You shall know the truth – and the truth shall set you free.
When the matter was later discussed, Callely was marked on record as dissenting from rubberstamping the appeal – though he insisted that he be recorded as abstaining, an option the Cathaoirleach said was unavailable.
Callely’s Seanad career, however, will likely to continue for a few months yet – unless he runs and is elected in the forthcoming general election, he will remain a member of the Seanad until its own election, which takes place a few months after the Dáil’s.