herald

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Wallace tax scandal could wipe out Dail Technical Group

TENSION: Pressure mounts for disgraced TD to quit

MEMBERS OF the 16-strong Dail Technical Group fear the Mick Wallace tax cheat scandal will "destroy" the organisation, the Herald can reveal.

There are growing tensions between a number of the Independent TDs over some of the individual responses being made over the Wexford TD's tax fraud.

Mr Wallace was this weekend facing the strong prospect of being booted out of the group -- with some deputies also set to call on him to resign his Dail seat.

The ex-developer left his independent colleagues reeling when he revealed that he falsified VAT documents relating to his construction company to the tune of €1.4m.







Inquiry

In another twist, Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett has written to the chairman of the Oireachtas Committee on Members' Interests, Thomas Pringle, asking him to convene an inquiry into Mr Wallace's tax affairs.

Mr Pringle, a colleague of Mr Wallace in the Technical Group, said he would call together a meeting next week to discuss the request. He is to seek legal advice on the issue.

Independent TD Catherine Murphy, who is whip of the Technical Group, said she was not calling on Mr Wallace to resign. She said Mr Wallace was democratically elected.

Labour TDs Aodhan O Riordain and Robert Dowds called on the colourful Independent to quit his Dail seat.

A number of Technical Group members have publicly called on him to repay his bill to the State -- which stands at €2.1m after penalties and interest.

But the Herald can reveal that there is now growing tensions as a result of the divisive responses by members of the group this weekend.

While Wallace's Independent colleague John Halligan told the Herald he be would calling for his resignation, Socialist TD Clare Daly issued a statement of support. Some Technical Group members fear the wider implications of the scandal.

One TD told the Herald that it has been their view for "many months" that the arrangement between the 16 deputies "is not working".

"We have the likes of Shane Ross and Stephen Donnelly on the right and then Joe Higgins and others on the left -- we don't operate at all well together."

hnews@herald.ie

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