I’m astounded at the latest controversy surrounding local TD Mick Wallace. I genuinely thought I’d seen the last of it after the labour court judgements surrounding his restaurants’, the court order over unpaid pension but this takes the biscuit. There was a sense of disbelief that only Flann O’Brian could interpret surrounding his Morning Ireland interview where he referred to the company of which he is sole director as “we” . He may have reached a settlement with Revenue but to suggests that he will pay this agreed fine, penalties and charges for withholding VAT on his apartment sales for 2 years is another days work all together. In the meantime there’s the important business of attending 3 Ireland matches in Poland. Like the other developer who wanted to stay on in his Ailsbury Rd mansion until his son had finished school sometime next year, some of these high rollers still just don’t get it.
The high moral ground is a lonely place for Mick when you’re caught out 3 times already. In the absence of clinics or engagement with his electorate there is surely a question mark over his political future. If you oppose household taxes and fail to understand the value of local government it’s not a giant step to showing disdain for national government or citizenry. As I write his Vote No referendum posters still stand on many a lamppost in the county, presumably awaiting Mick’s return from Poland with a ladder to remove them. These posters are now in contravention of the law. At the same time Tidy Town committees around the county are doing their best before the first round of judging. All of this seems over the head of the deputy from Wexford. Sadly much of the good work Mick has done highlighting issues in the county that need to be raised is now tainted. But to be fair there is a precedent. there are huge similarities to the Ellis controversy of the late 80’s where a FF TD whose company was bankrupt hung on as a TD despite owing millions. But do Wallace’s supporters want to be compared to the GUBU era and Fianna Fail under Haughey?
Mick has carved a political career out of attacking the government over its failure to spend. his protests might have a little more credibility if the he paid his own tax in full when due. You can’t spend what you haven’t got, but for high rollers at the height of the tiger economy money was just a phone call away.
But could the issue also raise other questions about Mr Wallace’s business ethics? His decision to put the tax payer and his banks at the end of the list for payment poses the question was this the only such time that he took this course of action in his business? Recently he wrote in defence of sub contractors in a local paper. But did he pay all his sub contractors and if not what criteria were used to decide who got paid and who didn’t? The tax payer is entitled to assurances by Deputy Wallace as to how he operated his business even if it does interfere with his enjoyment of soccer. It’s time for Deputy Wallace to clarify and explain his entire finances to the taxpayer and his constituents. In the absence of that its time for Mick to be called ashore. As the Anti Household Charge Anti Treaty poster says “Enough is Enough”