| 10°C Dublin

Higgins rejects Daly denial she quit over support for Wallace

CLARE Daly's claim that her resignation from the Socialist Party had nothing to do with tax cheat Mick Wallace was dismissed by her former colleagues last night.

And the TD's attempts to get some of the party's state funding were scuppered, because the money will be returned to the taxpayer. The reduction in funding places a doubt over four party staff members' jobs.

Socialist Party leader Joe Higgins said the party disagreed with Ms Daly's "public political support" for Mr Wallace.

After causing acrimony with the group of independent and small-party TDs in the Dail Technical Group, Mr Wallace's €2.1m tax bill caused a major rift in the Socialist Party.

Ms Daly said it was "absolute nonsense" to say her resignation was over her support for Mr Wallace, which she said was a "spurious connection".

"My resignation has got nothing to do with Mick Wallace," she said.

The Dublin North TD said she was resigning because she was disappointed with the development of the United Left Alliance, of which the Socialists are a part.

Insults

Ms Daly described remarks by the party on her resignation as "tit-for-tat, derogatory insults".

But the attacks from the Socialist Party continued as she was accused of avoiding the issue of her political support for Mr Wallace.

Rejecting her claim that her departure was about building the ULA, the party said the "many discussions" that took place with Ms Daly in the summer "were all focused on the question of her political support for Mick Wallace".

Mr Higgins said all the "very intense discussions" with Ms Daly were in relation to Mr Wallace, but she had repeatedly disagreed.

"We believe that subsequent to the revelation of very serious tax evasion by Mick Wallace, Clare Daly afforded him public political support," he said.

"That was evident in many ways and was commented on in the media.

"We wanted her to make very clear that there was no political connection between her as a Socialist Party TD and the Socialist Party and Mick Wallace, his politics and his actions."

He added that the resignations of two other members of the party last week were for unrelated reasons concerning dissatisfaction with the party in their area.

Ms Daly said she wanted a slice of the Socialist Party's state funding, allocated based on the number of TDs immediately after the general election.

She said she needed the money to help run her office and employ staff.

But Mr Higgins said whatever share of funding the party was given for Ms Daly would be returned to the taxpayer.

Owing to the election of two TDs, Mr Higgins and Ms Daly, the party received €120,000 under the party leaders' allowance last year.

Mr Higgins said he would be writing to the Department of Finance asking them how much of this funding relates to having just one TD. The rest would be returned to the state coffers.

He said it would not be legally possible to allocate the money to Ms Daly as it was solely for staff and policy development.

He also said the reduction in funding would "pose challenges" for the employment of four members of Socialist Party staff.

See Comment - Page 20

Irish Independent