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Sunday 21 September 2014

Mick Wallace could lose Dail rights over hitman claims

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

Published 08/10/2012 | 05:00

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Mick Wallace

INDEPENDENT TD Mick Wallace is facing the loss of Dail speaking time after completely alienating himself from fellow TDs with his claim that he once threatened to hire a hitman.

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He is still facing a motion of censure for deliberately under-declaring €1.4m of VAT paid to his construction company.

But he has worsened his situation with his former allies in the Technical Group of Independent TDs, who are horrified by his claims that he once threatened to hire a hitman to recover an IR£20,000 debt from a building firm. And he compounded the damage by criticising their failure to publicly stand by him.

Key members of the group, including Independents Finian McGrath and John Halligan, are now demanding that the practice of giving Mr Wallace spare speaking time be halted.

"I hope the Technical Group have the balls to stand up and say we are not going to be humiliated by Mick Wallace," Mr Halligan said.

But Mr Wallace is unlikely to face any sanction for his "hitman" comments, which were made before he entered the Dail. He made it clear that he did not actually hire a hitman.

Gardai are also unlikely to investigate unless a complaint is made by a member of the public. Gardai did not want to comment last night.

Mr Halligan also said he was infuriated by the claim made by Mr Wallace on RTE's 'Marian Finucane Show' that members of the Technical Group had been pressurised by the media into condemning him.

Mr Halligan said he had made a statement calling for Mr Wallace to resign his Dail seat over his €2.1m tax settlement before any media outlet had contacted him.

Mr Wallace later resigned from the Technical Group but still got speaking time from it. Independent Dublin North Central TD Finian McGrath said many members of the group felt "disgusted" with Mr Wallace's latest remarks.

It is understood that Mr Wallace's only remaining supporters in the Technical Group of Independent and small party TDs are Dublin North TD Clare Daly, Dublin Central TD Maureen O'Sullivan, Roscommon-South Leitrim TD Luke 'Ming' Flanagan, and Dublin South Central TD Joan Collins.

Condemn

Technical Group member Seamus Healy TD recently quit the United Left Alliance in protest at their failure to condemn Mr Wallace's actions.

The decision on granting speaking time to Mr Wallace will be made at the Technical Group's regular weekly meeting tomorrow.

However, he will still be able to get speaking time if he can privately convince other TDs to give some of their allocated time to him. No action on the proposed motion of censure against Mr Wallace will be taken until there is a meeting of the Dail's cross-party Committee on Procedures and Privileges.

He is also unlikely to have to ditch his jeans and polo-shirt in the short term because committee members believe that a new Dail dress code would be impossible to enforce.

Irish Independent

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