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Oireachtas Committee to write to Mick Wallace over tax affairs

The Select Committee on Members’ Interests needs to figure out if Mick Wallace’s tax affairs fall under its jurisdiction.

Independent TD for Donegal South-West Thomas Pringle, chairman of the Dail committee on members interests.
Independent TD for Donegal South-West Thomas Pringle, chairman of the Dail committee on members interests.
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

A COMMITTEE ON Members Interests of the Dáil is to write to Independent TD Mick Wallace to establish certain facts about his tax affairs to ensure that it has the correct powers before any investigation proceeds.

The Wexford deputy has been under fire for the past week over his company’s failure to declare its VAT bill correctly. M&J Wallace under-declared by about €1.4 million and later reached a €2.13 million settlement with the Revenue Commissioners.

The Select Committee, which is chaired by Donegal TD Thomas Pringle, wants to ascertain the correct dates of various actions to see if the settlement was reached during Wallace’s term in office.

Writing to the TD is a first step in what could become a full investigation into Wallace’s admission that he knowingly made the false tax declaration.

The committee has the authority to carry out an investigation to determine whether a Dáil member has contravened the Ethics in Public Office Acts of 1995 and 2001.

At its meeting today, it “carefully considered” the matter but decided it must establish whether the issues – including the settlement entered into between Revenue and M&J Wallace Ltd – were “carried out by a member or a connected person during the member’s tenure in office and therefore within the committee’s jurisdiction”.

The committee has also asked M&J Wallace to give Revenue authorisation to correspond with them on the affair. Replies and a second meeting are planned for next week.

Wallace has conceded that it is “unlikely” that the €2.1 million settlement will be paid.

Earlier today the Dáil was suspended after a heated dispute between the Ceann Comhairle and the leader of the Fianna Fáil party. Micheál Martin claimed there was no reason why Mick Wallace’s tax affairs should not be discussed in the House but Seán Barrett made no apology for “adhering to Standing Orders” in not allowing the Wexford TD make a personal explanation.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the government would consider the response of the Committee on Members’ Interests and then decide on whether to provide speaking time to the Wexford deputy.

Today: Dáil suspended after Martin, Barrett clash over Wallace statement>

More: No Dáil censure ahead of possible committee investigation>

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