I was just as surprised as Ivor was! Its about 3 years ago when he arrived on my doorstep. Ivor thought I had a Senate vote and called to ask me for a transfer. It was July and he’d just lost his seat in the General Election. He’d driven into the estate just ahead of me in a 4X4. Not too many 4X4’s come into my estate and instantly I suspected the driver was a developer who was looking to speak to the local councillor, probably to give me a bit of stick!
From 20 yards behind it looked like trouble was heading my way so I was pleasantly pleased to find that it was only Ivor Callely! I spoke to him for a few minutes and we reminisced about our old school. We’d a pleasant conversation. He told me he had driven from home that morning to see me so I suggested someone he may try and then sent him on his way.
It was clear to me when the Seanad vote was counted that he hadn’t many friends in Fianna Fail as he only secured 13 first preference votes however help was at hand when he wound up in the Seanad courtesy of then Taoiseach Bertie Ahern. Why Ahern owed Callely the favour of a Seanad nomination is not very clear to me as Callely had to resign a few years ago over another unfortunate event.
Now his political career seems to be heading for oblivion, even if he can hold out until 2012. His political instinct like his homing instinct needs a reality check; His second home, his principal residence, his main home, his receipts from a long failed business, all contributing to bring him down and damage what ever remaining credit that politics may still hold somewhere.
I tend to believe his only problem is that he doesn’t have any political friends left in Fianna Fail. Ivor was a graduate of the FF class of 1985. Ivor was famous for towing a caravan behind his car as a mobile advice clinic. It’s my view that that local election was the most extraordinary one ever, bringing the most uniquely corrupt nest of FF vipers into political life. I watched at close quarters, canvassing for my good friend Bernie Malone in North Dublin. Why he’s on the edge is because people understand the amounts of money involved and can identify with them.
With Willie O’Dea, it’s a different matter. There was no money involved, but arguably a more significant matter of someone’s reputation. .
O’Dea mislead a judge in relation to a sworn affidavit. He tried to bluster out of it and almost got away with it until he shot himself in the foot by portraying himself as a victim. Callely tried the same approach but had few associates that were prepared to put their necks on the block for him as Dermot Ahern did for O’Dea
Maybe that’s Callely’s real failing in FF eyes, not being internally popular enough having seen off many FF rivals for his Dail seat. While Callely roasts on the spit like a steak on a summer barbeque, O’Dea is whinging as it seems that the SF councillor got too much money out of him. Poor Willie things are so bad he needs to hitch a lift to work of a FF TD colleague.
It may not be long before Willie is rehabilitated, but for Ivor already FF hopefuls are lining up to replace him in the Seanad if the event of a chance vacancy. I heard one senior FF councillor toast Ivor earlier today conscious that any slip on Ivor’s part would give Brian Cowen an opportunity to directly nominate his replacement. The councillor went on to say that Cowen had made few mistakes since taking office!
The reality is that while Ivor can be booted out of FF, he can’t be sacked as a Senator and he can continue to travel from West Cork to tend to the needs of the citizens of Clontarf. He may reflect that if he had lived in the caravan then none of the mileage controversy would have happened and as a consequence the phone bills would have never surfaced. But if Ivor learnt anything from the school we both went to it was to stand your ground on a pitch and don’t concede. Ivor will fight on till the very last minute and FF know it. Otherwise Brian Cowen (remember him?) would have been on the airwaves looking for Ivor’s blood. Yes, it will be Ivor for ever!