Independent Deputy Mick Wallace could be forced to resign from the Irish parliament as a bank chases him for a $25million debt.
Wallace was ordered to repay the borrowings to ACC Bank by a Dublin court but has already admitted he doesn’t have the money.
He told reporters that he is unable to meet the payments and the bank may declare him bankrupt - under Irish parliament rules undischarged bankrupts are not allow to sit in the Dail (chambers) and must forfeit their seats.
ACC Bank secured the judgement for $25million against the Wexford deputy and his company M&J Wallace Ltd in Dublin’s Commercial Court.
Asked if the move could scupper his fledgling political career after less than eight months in office, Wallace said: “Yes, that’s possible.
“I don’t know whether ACC have a mind to bankrupt me or not. I don’t have it the money. So the next move is up to them as to what they do.”
Under the terms of the court order, ACC Bank can now take steps to recover the money if Wallace, as he has suggested himself, is not in a position to repay it.
The bank has fixed charges against a number of properties owned and developed by Wallace and his company across Dublin.
The bank is entitled to sell those assets for whatever price it can raise if Wallace fails to make the repayments. Wallace has also admitted that he is not in a position to make up any shortfall on the $25million he owes after the sales.
“The shortfall will probably be a large portion of the money owed,” admitted Wallace. “But I did borrow the money and I can’t pay it back, so I’ve got to take it on the chin.
“As a public representative, I’ve a large responsibility to uphold the law of the land and that’s what I’m doing. I’ve no idea what may happen next.”
An undischarged bankrupt is not permitted to sit in the Irish parliament – trade union leader Jim Larkin was prohibited from taking his seat in the Dail under this law after the 1927 election.
Wallace owes over $60million to four banks in total, including ACC. If he is declared bankrupt by the courts, he would have six months in which to get the order annulled or be discharged from the bankruptcy before losing his seat.
“My company is clearly in a difficult place, owing money to subcontractors, the Revenue, and the banks,” added Wallace.'
“I sincerely regret this. We will continue to do our utmost to meet repayments and maximize the return to our creditors.”