Wednesday 11 December 2019

Murphy's business partner is convicted tax dodger


Verona Murphy. Photo: Patrick Browne
Verona Murphy. Photo: Patrick Browne

Hugh O'Connell and Fionnán Sheahan

FINE Gael is staying silent on whether the party knew the business partner of its by-election candidate was a convicted tax dodger.

Verona Murphy runs a haulage firm, Drumur Transport Ltd, with her business partner Joseph Druhan.

The name of the firm is drawn from a combination of their surnames.

In 2012, Mr Druhan was personally listed as a tax defaulter by the Revenue Commissioners for under-declaration of VAT.

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He paid €74,271 - €41,865 in tax and €32,406 in penalties.

Mr Druhan made false VAT returns to the Revenue using bogus invoices for diesel which he took from the public counter of a Rosslare fuel suppliers.

He was given a suspended sentence of one year in prison in February 2012.

Mr Druhan, from Ballysheen, Carne, Broadway, in Co Wexford, pleaded guilty to eight counts of knowingly making incorrect VAT returns between January 2005 and October 2008; claiming a refund of €5,199 from Revenue on May 25, 2005, to which he was not entitled; producing an incorrect invoice in the name of Rosslare Fuels to Revenue officer Prionsias O Maolalaidh on March 6, 2008, and failing to keep true records of all VAT transactions for the period January 2005 to December 2005.

The offences related to Mr Druhan's business as a sole trader.

Ms Murphy and Mr Druhan later merged their businesses and set up as a limited company.

Records in the Companies Registration Office say that the company was formed in 2009.

When asked if it was aware of the case, a Fine Gael spokesperson said the party had no response.

Fine Gael has been taken by surprise by a series of comments by, and revelations about, Ms Murphy who is standing in the Wexford by-election next week.

The party was caught unawares by a series of interviews in which she expressed views about immigrants.

And revelations of bullying allegations against Ms Murphy drew a mixed response.

Initially, the party said that it had no comment, but later said it did know about the case.

Irish Independent

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