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Committee cannot investigate Wallace until he provides more information

The Dáil’s Committee on Members’ Interests has said that the independent TD has not provided sufficient information for it to establish whether or not it can investigate his tax affairs.

Mick Wallace before he became a TD (File)
Mick Wallace before he became a TD (File)
Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

THE DÁIL’S COMMITTEE ON Members’ Interest has said that it does not have the jurisdiction to investigate the tax affairs of independent TD Mick Wallace because he has not provided the information that it sought.

The committee, chaired by independent TD Thomas Pringle, has been examining the tax affairs of Wallace and his construction company in the wake of revelations last month that it under-declared VAT resulting in a settlement of €2.13 million with the Revenue commissioners.

Wallace had said that he was unlikely to be able to pay back the money but has since pledged half of his Dáil salary towards meeting the tax liability of M & J Wallace Limited, his construction firm which he says is insolvent.

This evening the committee said that it was unable to determine if it had jurisdiction to investigate Wallace because he had not answered all of its questions.

It has published the full correspondence in its report which includes a letter from Wallace’s solicitor stating that the “matters at issue” – relating specifically to whether or not the settlement with the Revenue was made before Wallace became a TD – had been clarified and were outside the jurisdiction of the committee.

In a statement, the committee said that it was satisfied that it had no jurisdiction to investigate the tax compliance of Wallace and/or his company saying “this is a matter which falls solely to the Revenue Commissioners and, if appropriate, the DPP.”

But the statement added:

Unless and until Deputy Wallace provides the information sought, together with supporting evidence from the Revenue Commissioners, the Committee is of the opinion that it will be unable to determine its jurisdiction in the matter and in the circumstances is making this report to Dáil Éireann.

Speaking to the media later, Pringle said that the committee had sought answers to seven questions but received responses in relation to just two of them.

He said the committee was unable to satisfy itself with the timeline of events which led to an under-declaration of around €1.4 million in VAT by M & J Wallace.

“Unless and until Deputy Wallace provides us with the information we require we will be unable to operate any investigation,” he told the media saying that it was his belief that it was in the Wexford TD’s own interests to provide the committee with the information it has asked for.

The matter will now return to the Dáil where the party whips may determine whether or not to table a motion of censure against Wallace, something which was reportedly being considered last month when the controversy first arose.

Read more about the Mick Wallace controversy >

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Hugh O'Connell

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