A politician who owes the taxman over $2.6million has skipped the country – to cheer on Ireland at the European Championships.
Wexford deputy Mick Wallace has admitted that he falsified tax returns on the sale of apartments by his troubled building company.
The outspoken Independent representative has also confessed that the Irish taxman will probably ‘never’ see the money owed as his building firm is crippled with debt.
The Irish Sun newspaper reports that Wallace has left his troubles behind to travel to Poland for all three Irish games at the Euro 2012 finals.
His spokesman told the paper: “He is staying for the three matches.”
Wallace is undertaking the soccer journey of a lifetime by car after admitting the tax and fines for the false accounts are unlikely to be paid.
“Bar some bank were to come in and rescue the company, which is very unlikely in this climate, it is very unlikely Revenue will get the money,” said Wallace.
The Independent deputy said he under-declared VAT to ‘stop his firm going under’ and save 60 jobs.
His revelation sparked an angry outcry in the Irish parliament when Labor Party deputy Eamon Malone described Wallace as a ‘tax evader’.
Discussing a motion put forward by Wallace, Malone added: “Tax compliant members of the State require some explanation of this. When I see motions such as today’s, where there is no explanation from someone who engages in tax evasion, I am appalled.”
Likewise Fine Gael party chairman Charlie Flanagan fumed: “It’s a pretty dismal precedent when a member of the Dail admits to having knowingly filed inaccurate tax returns.”
Wallace is refusing to quit and maintain he is fit to hold office in the Irish parliament.
He said: “No, I won’t quit and I shouldn’t have to. The idea I’m a serial tax defaulter is unfair. “