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Saturday 25 November 2017

Government prepared to put down motion of censure on tax cheat Mick Wallace

Party whips have held off on passing a motion to formally condemn tax-dodging TD Mick Wallace
Party whips have held off on passing a motion to formally condemn tax-dodging TD Mick Wallace

Fionnan Sheahan Political Editor

THE Government is prepared to put down a motion of censure on tax cheat TD Mick Wallace today if an inquiry by a Dail watchdog is not established.

The move comes as the property developer was officially named and shamed as a tax defaulter by the Revenue Commissioners, with a settlement of €2.1m.



The Independent TD's case will still be examined by a Dail watchdog today, before any motion condemning his actions is put down.



Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he viewed the matter with the "utmost seriousness" and said the Coalition still intended to table a motion if necessary.



"The Government stands ready to put together an all-party motion," he said.



Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett called a halt towards a drive to table a motion of censure in Mr Wallace yesterday.



Mr Barrett didn't want any motion put down before a meeting of the Dail Committee on Members' Interests to discuss the controversy.



It is understood Fine Gael and the Labour Party also had concerns about the legality of tabling a motion before the case is examined by the relevant committee.



Legal advice from a number of sources resulted in the motion being kicked to touch.



However, the committee is not expected to proceed with a full-scale inquiry as Mr Wallace's falsified tax return predates his time as a TD.



Mr Barrett asked the committee to examine the case and it is believed he feels the matter can be looked into, provided the inquiry focuses on his actions after being elected.



Party whips decided to hold off on the motion of censure as a result of the decision to wait for the committee.



The committee is chaired by Independent TD Thomas Pringle and the other members are Fine Gael's Olivia Mitchell and David Stanton, Labour's Jack Wall and Fianna Fail's John Browne.



Early yesterday it appeared he was almost certainly going to face a motion of censure in the Dail with a call for him to resign.



Fianna Fail threatened to bring forward a motion if the Government or Dail Technical Group didn't do so.



However, the party then had to back down.



Mr Wallace was in the Dail for the normal sitting yesterday and took his usual seat in the chamber for Leaders Questions to the Taoiseach.



The name of his company, MJ Wallace Ltd, is listed in the Revenue defaulters list as being "in receivership".



The company reached a settlement of €2,133,708, made up to €1,418,894 in tax, €289,146 in penalties and €425,668 in penalties.



The official condemnation of tax cheat Mick Wallace by the Dail was put on ice last night for fear of prejudicing an investigation.



But the Government is prepared to put down a motion of censure in the Independent TD today if an inquiry by a Dail watchdog is not set up.



The move comes as the The efforts to discipline Mr Wallace were dramatically kicked to touch last night.

Irish Independent

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