Wednesday 18 October 2017

Clare and I are just good friends says Mick, and he's very sorry about Vat lies

Wallace tells Marian Finucane that Dail Deputies know nothing about awful pressures of business

Mick Wallace and Clare Daly earlier this year, before Ms Daly left the Socialist Party
Mick Wallace and Clare Daly earlier this year, before Ms Daly left the Socialist Party
Liam Collins

Liam Collins

Controversial Independent TD Mick Wallace has said that he and the deposed Socialist Party TD Clare Daly are "just good friends".

Controversial Independent TD Mick Wallace has said that he and the deposed Socialist Party TD Clare Daly are "just good friends".

The TD, who is known for his pink shirts, added: "Clare Daly's departure from the Socialist Party is her own business, I can assure you it had nothing to do with me.

"Obviously, she feels she can be more effective outside the party than in it.

"Actually I have been a bit surprised at Joe Higgins' negativity towards me in the last couple of months."

And he revealed how after appeals from Mr Higgins he had taken on sacked workers, even when he didn't need to at the time.

In a bizarre exchange with the radio presenter Marian Finucane on her show yesterday he said he was once asked if he was having an affair with Ms Finucane.

"Someone asked me one time if I was having an affair with you, you wouldn't believe that would you?" he continued.

"I would be fairly surprised, given that I haven't been in the same room with you in the last four years," said Finucane.

"I was seen down in the Wine Bar talking with you twice.

"A fellah came up to me and said 'you are not having an affair with Marian Finucane, are you?'

"I said 'no, you are right, I am not'."

Mr Wallace was giving a wide-ranging interview on Finucane's radio show about the collapse of his business, his decision not to pay VAT to keep his company going, his settlement with the Revenue Commissioners and his new life as a TD. Mr Wallace also revealed that he would rather that the syndicate of four banks who have multi-million loans against his company would make him bankrupt rather than sending receivers to many of his businesses.

He said that he employs no one and no longer has any dealings in the construction sector following the collapse of his property empire

Mr Wallace admitted he was "completely wrong" to under-declare his VAT, but said few people understood the pressure businesses are under in Ireland today.

"I understand what it is like to be in business.

"Too many people in the Dail known nothing about pressures on business, but I have been there.

"If you employ people in business and it comes under pressure, it is not just a business struggle, it is a personal struggle.

"It is relentless and the Government is not giving the required help that business needs.

"Our domestic economy is going down the tubes.

"The Government loves talking about exports, but they come from multi-nationals who pay very little tax.

"We are glad to have them, but the domestic economy is where employment is.

"People don't understand how difficult it is to keep a business going.

"I was under terrible pressure, I am not making excuses, but people have no idea of the pressures we're under at the time."

Between October 2010 and November 2011 he said that he was making re-payments on his settlement with Revenue over his €2.1m deliberate under declaration of VAT.

But he said that after the ACC Bank moved against him for repayment of €19.4m in loans it "killed the company" and removed his capacity to repay the revenue.

"When I stood for election my company had a tax clearance cert -- I made no secret of the fact that I had troubles.

"I told a lot of people about the VAT, even at town hall meetings during the election -- not all of them, but some of them."

In relation to the VAT settlement, he said: "This is something I shouldn't have done, as I couldn't save the business and I couldn't re-pay the Revenue."

And he said going into politics was something he had been thinking about for years.

"I was always a bit disillusioned by the political establishment, but very interested in politics. One of the great pleasures I got from the building business was making social comment, putting up banners" he said.

He added that he didn't go into politics for the money, saying: "I have often made more or lost more in a day than I make in a year from politics."

Sunday Independent

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