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Dublin: 4 °C Wednesday 20 November, 2019
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Wallace may face Dáil censure - and could lose seat after court action

The Wexford TD could either face bankruptcy action or a criminal prosecution – both of which would see him quit the Dáil.

Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

UNDER-PRESSURE WEXFORD TD Mick Wallace has insisted he will not resign from the Dáil – but could face a motion of censure over his actions, and potentially face court proceedings that might result in him losing his seat.

The TD yesterday admitted that his construction company MJ Wallace – of which Wallace is the sole director – had under-declared its VAT by around €1.4 million, and had reached a €2.13 million settlement with the Revenue.

The TD has faced heavy criticism over his actions, though he has refused to consider resigning – claiming he had not personally acted illegally, though his company had – it is reported today that he could face two separate actions which may result in him losing his seat.

Wallace yesterday said he believed it unlikely that his company would ever be in a position to pay the settlement – though the Irish Examiner reports that the Revenue could pursue the company’s directors, i.e. Wallace himself, if the company cannot pay up.

That could result in the Revenue bringing proceedings against Wallace himself seeking the payment – but with Wallace already the subject of a €19.1 million judgement secured by ACC Bank, that could result in bankruptcy proceedings.

Though this process could take several years, Wallace would be legally barred from membership of the Dáil while his bankruptcy status remains in place.

Up to five years’ jail

The Irish Times reports, meanwhile, that Wallace could potentially face imprisonment of up to five years if criminal proceedings are brought against him for knowingly under-declaring VAT.

Though it notes that his co-operation with the Revenue could mitigate against any sentence, any jail term of over six months would also see him disqualified from membership of the Dáil.

The Times also reports this morning that the Dáil’s committee on procedure and privileges, which could consider a motion of censure – something which has only previously been done once during this Dáil’s lifetime, against Michael Lowry following the report of the Moriarty Tribunal.

Thomas Pringle, another independent TD who chairs the Dáil committee on members’ interests, said his own committee was unlikely to be able to consider any sanction against Wallace, because his under-declaration had been done before he became a TD.

Both Pringle and the ULA’s Joan Collins told Newstalk’s Breakfast show they would consider supporting a motion of censure against Wallace if one was brought.

In a statement last night the technical group condemned Wallace for his actions, saying they did not condone his behaviour, but underlining that they were not in a position to remove him from the group because it was not a political party.

Wallace himself will not be in Ireland while his political future is questioned – as he is due to travel to Poland today to attend the Republic of Ireland’s matches in Euro 2012.

Read: Technical Group colleagues condemn Wallace – but won’t call on him to resign

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About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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