INDEPENDENT TD Mick Wallace has hinted that his career in politics may be short-lived. 'I am not sure that I am mad enough to run again,' he said last week at a 'public' meeting that attracted fewer a dozen people instead of the crowds anticipated.
Once the darling of the media with his unruly blond locks, the Wellingtonbridge poll-topper has recently been shunned by many of his Dáil colleagues after details of his tax affairs became public.
And it became clear on Thursday night that the backbenchers are not the only ones giving Deputy Wallace the cold shoulder. The business people invited to join him at the Riverside Park Hotel in Enniscorthy largely stayed away and he admitted that the no-show was probably because they felt 'appearing with me could be compromising'.
The few who were present heard him call for a campaign to save local enterprise, though he acknowledged that he might not be the person to lead the crusade. UNDER-FIRE Wexford TD Mick Wallace has given the first public indication that this may be his one and only stint in Dail Eireann.
'I am not sure that I am mad enough to run again,' he declared at a meeting he arranged for the Riverside Park Hotel in Enniscorthy last week, and to which he invited representatives of the various Chambers of Commerce in County Wexford.
However, the meeting did not attract the crowd he hoped for, as fewer than a dozen people turned up. At least a hundred chairs were set out for the occasion but they proved largely surplus to requirements as the Chamber of Commerce memebers gave the gathering a miss.
Instead, the turnout included only the hotel's proprietor, Colm Neville; Camolin vintner, Pat Lambert; Enniscorthy/Wexford businessman, Michael O'Leary; former aide to the late Maurice Roche, Sheila Redmond; household charge activists, John Byrne and Annette Moran; Wallace election worker, Michael Freeman from Galbally; the TD's assistant, Aindreas Doyle; and two local journalists.
In the absence of the hopedfor crowd, the independent politician pulled a few of the seats around in a circle and hosted an informal low key discussion on the woes facing business, which lasted for more than an hour. He acknowledged that the Chambers of Commerce had decided to absent themselves from the meeting because they felt 'appearing with me could be compromising'.
The Wellingtonbridge man has become a pariah among many of his Leinster House colleagues since details of the tax cheating activities behind his property business emerged. He then landed himself in more hot water when he revealed in a radio interview that he threatened to put a hit man on the trail of a man who owed him money. At the meeting last Tuesday, he stated that he was, and always had been a pacifist.
To those few who were there to hear him, Deputy Wallace listed five issues on which he felt that businesses should be mobilising their lobbying power. They were the increasing burden of sick pay for employees, commercial rates, upward only rent reviews, the cost of energy and the difficulty of obtaining credit.
He added a call for more power to be given to local government.