Sunday 19 November 2017

No reason why Minister John Perry should lose his job - Varadkar

The Minister for Small Business, John Perry
The Minister for Small Business, John Perry
Paul Melia

Paul Melia

TRANSPORT and tourism Minister Leo Varadkar has given his full backing to under-fire junior minister John Perry, saying there is no reason why he should lose his job.

Mr  Perry's position has become increasingly tenuous after it emerged he had tax arrears of €100,000 with the Revenue Commissioners.

But Mr Varadkar said this morning that his colleague had done "nothing wrong", and that he enjoyed his full support.

Speaking at the launch of a new phone app for Dublin tourism, he said none of cabinet colleagues had suggested Mr Perry's position was untenable.

"He's a very good colleague and a very good minister," he said.

"From what I have seen, it appears he experienced a lot of what people have in this financial recession.  He made a number of investments and business ventures that didn't work out.

"I certainly don't see any evidence of wrongdoing, and I certainly don't think he should lose his job over it."

Court documents reveal Mr Perry told Danske Bank, to whom he owes €2.5m, that he "knew Richie Boucher of Bank of Ireland" during negotiations on his loans.

The documents also show Mr Perry accusing the bank of "a form of bullying" and alluded to the personal consequences of actions by the bank "with his job".

Mr Perry also told Danske Bank in January 2012 that Bank of Ireland had agreed to give him a 10-year loan to help him address tax arrears of about €100,000, according to Commercial Court documents.

But it is not clear if the minister has since cleared the arrears with Revenue.

Mr Perry has six weeks to repay the €2.5m.  If he fails to do so, he faces bankruptcy which will result in the automatic loss of his Dail seat.

Mr Varadkar added Mr Perry's personal finances showed that everyone had to abide by the same rules.

"Back in the 1980s, ministers used to be able to get special deals from banks and had loans and mortgages written off.  We don't live in that country any more, and this is very clear evidence that the same laws and rules apply to everyone, as they should," he said.

"He certainly has my full support.  I can't speak for everyone, but no-one has suggested otherwise.  Nothing criminal, nothing illegal, no wrongdoing, and I don't think there's any case for someone to lose their job."

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