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TDs to Wallace: ‘Pay up using whatever resources you have’

Meanwhile, Fianna Fáíl wants Oireachtas committees to hold prompt investigations into Wallace’s tax affairs.

Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

TWO OF MICK WALLACE’S colleagues in the Dáil’s Technical Group have said Wallace should seek to pay his company’s €2.1 million settlement with the Revenue Commissioners using whatever resources he has available.

Both the Socialist Party’s Joe Higgins and independent TD John Halligan have said Wallace should use whatever assets he has in his other companies to cover the settlement, which Wallace yesterday said would probably never be paid.

Both TDs, however, joined with their technical group colleagues in stopping short of asking Wallace to resign, saying he was ultimately answerable only to the people of Wexford who he represents at Dáil level.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Today with Pat Kenny, Higgins said “every penny that’s owed to the tax [sic] should be paid” – saying the money should be found ”either from personal resources or any other company where there are assets”.

Higgins said it was unjust that one company could “go to the wall” while another “which is substantially in the same ownership doesn’t have to hold responsibility in any sense”, adding:

There should be a common responsibility right across companies owned by the same people where there are assets.

John Halligan, who is out of the country and did not sign yesterday’s Technical Group statement criticising Wallace’s actions, today expressed similar sentiment – saying Wallace should initiate the payments “from whatever resources he has”.

Extensive empire

Wallace is the secretary and director of several companies, including M. and J. Wallace Ltd, the construction company which is currently in receivership and which was involved in the €2.1 million Revenue settlement.

Among those are four companies involved in property management – Quartiere Bloom Management Ltd, Cannavaro Management Ltd, Behan Square Management Ltd and John Rogerson Management Ltd - as well as Wallace Calcio which operates his series of Italian cafe-bars.

He also runs Savage Streetware Ltd and Wallace Imago Ltd, which operate in the retail clothes business, and Wexford Youths FC Ltd – the Airtricity League team which he founded in 2007 and managed for three years.

CRO records show that club to be 100 per cent owned by M. and J. Wallace Ltd, the company at the centre of the current news. That company is in turn 99-per-cent owned by Wallace, and 1 per cent owned by his son Sasha.

Wallace has previously stated that most of his companies’ income was going straight to the banks, given the debts they had run up during the construction boom.

Oireachtas inquiries

Separately, Fianna Fáil has urged the two appropriate Oireachtas committees to move quickly to establish whether Wallace was in breach of Oireachtas rules in his companies’ tax affairs.

This morning the party whip Seán Ó Fearghaíl called on both the Oireachtas Committee on Procedures and Privileges, and the Committee on Members’ Interests, to investigate and form views about the settlement between M. and J. Wallace Ltd and the Revenue Commissioners.

“Being elected to Dáil Éireann is a great privilege and honour.  It also carries with it certain responsibilities,” Ó Fearghaíl said.

“We have onerous personal responsibilities as public representatives, but we also have a collective responsibility to ensure that we behave in a way that encourages public confidence in the Oireachtas.

In this spirit, I believe it is important that the Oireachtas Committee on Procedures and Privileges move quickly to confirm that it will be calling Deputy Mick Wallace to give evidence on the recent revelations about his business affairs and that it will make a statement on the issue.

Ó Fearghaíl said it was important that all members of the Oireachtas, regardless of their prominence or party affiliation, be held to the same standard of probity and accountability.”

This morning the chairman of the latter committee, independent TD Thomas Pringle, said it was unlikely that his committee would have any grounds on which to investigate Wallace because his company’s VAT underdeclaration was made before he became a TD.

The Irish Times this morning reported that the former committee, chaired by the Ceann Comhairle Seán Barrett and including members from all sides of the Dáil, was preparing meetings with a view to proposing a motion of censure in Wallace.

Such a motion would be the second since the current Dáil was elected; a similar motion condemning Michael Lowry was passed in the aftermath of the Moriarty Tribunal’s findings being published in March 2011.

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About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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