Irish politician Mick Wallace caught out in tax uproar
Wallace's future in Parliament hangs in the balance
Colorful TD (member of Parliament) Mick Wallace, who has been under fire over an unpaid €2.1 million tax bill, knows his future in the Dail (Parliament) is in the balance.
On Tuesday political party whips decided not to put down a motion of censure of Wallace immediately.
Deputy government Whip Emmet Stagg said that while the whips were aware that the Ceann Comhairle (speaker) had referred the matter to the Members Interests Committee in the Dail, they would not pre-empt the meeting.
The Members Interests Committee will meet mid-week to discuss the affair.
Stagg told RTE that any censure motion would “have to be legally proofed so as not to prejudice any actions by any other agencies.”
A motion of censure is merely a rap on the knuckles and cannot force a TD to resign.
But Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin has already indicated that Wallace, independent TD for Wexford, should give up his seat. Two Labor party back-benchers and two independent TDs have also called for his resignation.
This week Wallace stepped back from the 16-strong technical group of independents, leaving him isolated in the Dail.
A technical group can be formed in the Dail to give non-party or small-party associates increased speaking rights if their numbers are more than seven.
Wallace, a frequently pink-shirted politician with flowing blonde-grey curly hair, has a high profile because of his appearance and outspoken views.
The property developer-turned-politician last week admitted that his company under-declared Value Added Tax and came to a €2.1 million settlement with the Revenue Commissioners.
But he maintained he is not personally liable to make the payment as it is a company debt and he cannot afford to pay it. He added that the bill may never be settled as the firm, MJ Wallace Ltd, is now insolvent.
In a statement on Monday, 10 members of the technical group said, “After requests from independent members of the Technical Group to Deputy Mick Wallace that he step back voluntarily from the group forthwith as a result of last week’s revelations regarding his tax affairs, he has today agreed to do so.”
The controversy is said to have split the group. At least four members, who believe Wallace is fit to serve as a member, did not sign the statement.
Ceann Comhairle (speaker of the house) Sean Barrett declined a request from Wallace to make a personal statement on his tax affairs and his political future to the Dail. Barrett also requested an ethics investigation be launched after Wallace admitted he lied to the taxman by under-declaring his VAT by ***1.4 million on apartment sales.
Soccer fanatic Wallace cancelled plans over the controversy to go to Poland at the weekend to see Ireland play in the European Championship.
He had admitted he was wrong when his building company knowingly under-declared VAT, which, with interest and penalties piled on, rose to some €2.1 million.
He maintained the decision was made to save jobs at his failing construction firm.
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