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Technical group TDs: 'Massive difference' between Wallace's actions and household charge boycott

Both Joan Collins and Thomas Pringle believe that evading taxes is entirely separate to rejecting an austerity agenda.

A selection of TDs opposing the household charge - including Thomas Pringle, Joan Collins and Mick Wallace - attend a press event earlier this year.
A selection of TDs opposing the household charge - including Thomas Pringle, Joan Collins and Mick Wallace - attend a press event earlier this year.
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

TWO MEMBERS of the Dáil’s technical group have said their condemnation of Mick Wallace’s tax affairs are not in conflict with their calls for a boycott of the household charge.

Both the People Before Profit Alliance’s Joan Collins and independent deputy Thomas Pringle believe their calls for a campaign of civil disobedience are justified given the circumstances under which the charge was introduced.

Wallace, who is also a member of the technical group, yesterday confirmed his construction company MJ Wallace Co – of which he is the sole director – had reached a €2.1 million settlement with Revenue after undeclaring his company’s VAT liability.

The Technical Group last night released a statement saying it did not condone Wallace’s actions, which could see him ultimately forced out of the Dáil – but this morning two of its members denied a conflict between their response to Wallace and their calls for a boycott of other taxes.

“I think the household tax is a completely different issue,” Joan Collins told Newstalk’s Breakfast programme. “There’s been a popular boycott of the household tax; in and around 50 per cent of households did not pay the household tax.

“The household tax is part of the austerity programmes of the government,” she said, arguing that about a fifth of the number who had paid the tax – around 950,000 so far – had done so out of fear.

“I, as a socialist, would support paying taxes… to support our hospitals, our education, the whole lot. The household tax is different… the government is trying to implement this as part of the austerity programme.”

On the same Newstalk programme, Thomas Pringle also felt the circumstances of justifying a boycott of the household charge were entirely different to avoiding a tax bill running into the millions.

“The household charge is a different circumstance,” he said, believing there was a “massive difference” between the two.

There has been a huge public backlash against the household charge and the unfairness of the charge itself, and the policy the government is pursuing for making ordinary people pay for the crisis that we’re in.

A number of TDs, and almost 50 per cent of the population of the country, oppose an unfair and unjust tax.

Read: Wallace may face Dáil censure – and could lose seat after court action

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Gavan Reilly

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