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Now Mick has surgery as his woes add up

INDEPENDENT TD Mick Wallace was in hospital today as he faced down a controversy over the late payment of employee pension contributions.

Mr Wallace insisted he was not hiding but instead had to attend hospital for an operation on his arm as details of a court case taken against him by the Pensions Board emerged.

The Wexford TD and construction firm boss said the issue dates back to 2009 when there was a discrepancy over what he owed in pension contributions.

When he eventually agreed with the Pensions Board on the amount, they asked him to "pay the employee contributions up front".

"They gave me until December 5 to pay the rest -- that's why the case yesterday was adjourned until December 5 to pay the rest," Mr Wallace said.

"To say the employee contributions wasn't paid is untrue.

"There was a delay in making the payment because there was a discrepancy over how much was owed and there was some poor communication between us and the Pensions Board.

"It's obviously more my fault than theirs and I accept responsibility for that but it's completely untrue to say the employee contribution hasn't been paid because they have."

He admitted he was in court because the money was outstanding and the Pensions Board issued court proceedings "a while back and we had more talks with them and they asked us to pay the employee contributions and we did".

Mr Wallace yesterday agreed to pay more than €45,000 to the Construction Workers Pension Scheme (CWPS), but is still being prosecuted by the Pensions Board in the District Court.

It comes after Mr Wallace was ordered to repay more than €19m to ACC bank, which could lead to him losing his family home and Dail seat.

comurphy@herald.ie