It's not the sort of fact that inspires confidence but newly-elected independent minister from County Wexford Mick Wallace owes more than $56 million to four banks - and he has bluntly admitted that he wouldn't be able to repay them if they requested it now.
Wallace owes the majority of the money to three foreign-owned banks: ACC Bank, Bank of Scotland and Ulster Bank and his remaining loans are with Allied Irish Bank.
"If they choose to sell me out, there will be money lost. But it won’t be taxpayers money, it will be bank money," Wallace told the Irish press.
"I don’t want anyone to bail me out. The last government made the decision to guarantee the banks with taxpayers money and made pariahs of us builders."
Despite his bold public statements Wallace is said to fear that one of his banks may soon move against him, which could force him into insolvency.
"They are prepared to sell stuff I’ve built for less than it would cost to put it there now. That doesn’t make any sense."
To buy some time Wallace says he believes the banks would do better to work with him than take action against him.
"I am not predicting a massive recovery, but it will all stack up again. We only built between the canals in Dublin. We have about 75 units between apartments, shops and offices, and 70 of them are occupied. The banks are getting the rent and that’s why they have left me alone so far," he said.
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