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Wallace still faces censure after dodging Dail tax quiz

TAX cheat TD Mick Wallace, below, could still face censure in the Dail after he refused to co-operate fully with an ethics watchdog over his €2.1m VAT bill.

The Independent TD refused to answer questions from the Dail Committee on Members Interests on a timeline of the scandal, from when he under-declared tax for his construction business until he reached a tax settlement. Mr Wallace answered only two of seven questions put to him, as he said legal advice from his solicitor prevented him from answering the rest.

The committee was unable to establish if the tax settlement crossed over into his time as a TD since he was elected in last year's General Election.

But it said it was satisfied the original under-declaration of VAT happened before he became a TD.

The committee is now expected to refer the matter back to the Dail.

Mr Wallace cannot be forced to resign, but party whips could pass a motion of censure in the Dail, effectively a rap on the knuckles.

The Government has previously mooted tabling a motion of censure on Mr Wallace, but political sources said it was too early to say if this course of action would be followed.

The committee said it had no jurisdiction to investigate the tax compliance of the Independent TD or his company, M & J Wallace Ltd, as this is a matter for the Revenue Commissioners, and if appropriate, the DPP.

"Unless and until Deputy Wallace provides the information sought... the committee is of the opinion that it will be unable to determine its jurisdiction in the matter," said committee chairman Thomas Pringle, an Independent TD for Donegal South West.

mlavery@herald.ie