Monday 26 February 2018

... but at least he's getting support from the women in his life

NOT ALONE: Mick Wallace
with socialist TD Clare Daly
NOT ALONE: Mick Wallace with socialist TD Clare Daly
his former partner Patricia Barry
and his estranged wife Mary Murphy
KEEPING IT IN THE FAMILY: The Behan Square complex

Eimear Ni Bhraonain

TAX cheat Mick Wallace turned to the women in his life to shield him from the media glare in the toughest week of his political career.

The Wexford TD, who dodged paying €1.4m in VAT liabilities to Revenue, confided in the mother of two of his four children while politicians called for his head.

Mr Wallace, 56, stayed with his former partner, Dublin secondary school teacher, Patricia Barry, in her modest terraced home in Goatstown, near Dundrum, while he prepared to make his statement to the Dail.

And while indignant politicians attacked Mr Wallace for lying to the taxman, socialist TD Clare Daly, put her own political career on the line by not condemning her close pal.

Mr Wallace has leaned on the women closest to him in the past week -- along with his family and supporters in his native county of Wexford.

The UCD graduate, who qualified as a teacher before deciding there was more money to be made in construction, agreed to surrender half of his Dail salary while he is in office to go towards paying off his VAT bill.

analysis page 18

While he gave a candid statement in the Dail last week, there are still a number of unanswered questions about how he came to a €2.1m settlement with Revenue. It is not clear if Mr Wallace voluntarily went to Revenue to confess that his company had dodged tax -- or if he gave the information after an audit threatened to uncover the matter.

While the media circus hunted Mr Wallace -- and his ally in the Dail, Ms Daly -- for comments last week, his 04 BMW black jeep with the trademark Wallace football logo was parked outside Patricia Barry's house.

Ms Barry is a popular teacher who holds an assistant principal post in all-girls school Rockfort Manor in Blackrock.

In a previous interview, Mr Wallace admitted that he was still on "good terms" with the teacher, who is the mother of their two children, Grainne, 20, and Joe Barry Wallace, 18.

When asked if Mr Wallace would comment on his situation, Ms Barry responded that he would not be available.

The mum-of-two deflected questions for the independent TD by explaining he wouldn't be leaving her home anytime soon, and was staying "for the night".

His family in Wellington Bridge, Co Wexford, have expressed concern over Mr Wallace. "He's holding up well," said his brother, Joe Wallace. However, he hinted that it's been a tough few days for the TD.

"The people are saying 'it's a witch hunt' and 'don't resign'.

"I don't think anyone would condone it but there are no negative vibes here and everybody tells him, that he should stay in the Dail."

He also said Mick Wallace was "willing to explain everything".

Near his home village, Mr Wallace's estranged wife, Mary Murphy, lives in a detached house in the countryside.

The Duncormick woman refused to comment on her ex-husband's tax affairs when asked at her home last week. She maintained a dignified silence -- and did not have a bad word to say about the man with whom she had two children, Sasha, 30, and Fionn, 28.

The pair married in 1979 but separated while their children were young. Mr Wallace moved to Dublin and had a relationship with Patricia Barry in the Nineties.

While Mr Wallace spent some of his time reflecting on his situation in the company of Ms Barry, his friendship with Ms Daly has also been a source of comfort to him. The pair are regularly seen outside of the Dail together -- opting to have lunch in Phil Ryan's pub, The Hogan Stand, near Mr Wallace's Italian restaurant, on occasion. They have also been seen socialising in Dublin city centre together during breaks from the Dail.

Ms Daly was given several opportunities to comment on Mick Wallace's situation in the past week but she has remained tight-lipped.

Meanwhile, in Ferrycarrig Park, there is nothing but support for the TD who shelled out vast sums of money to construct the state-of-the-art ground for Wexford Youths.

Sunday Independent

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