Tuesday 23 January 2018

TDs freeze out Wallace over 'hitman' outburst

Fionnan Sheahan Political Editor

TAX cheat Mick Wallace is increasingly isolated after the group of Independent and small party TDs turned their back on him.

But the Independent TD's behaviour is once again threatening to fracture the Technical Group.

In the wake of Mr Wallace's latest outbursts, the Technical Group has agreed it will not be allocating any speaking time to him.

The Wexford TD angered colleagues with his claim he once threatened to hire a hitman and accused fellow Independent TDs of caving in to media pressure over his tax affairs.

However, Independent TDs are also warning they will resign from the group if Mr Wallace attempts to rejoin.

The rules of the Dail mean Mr Wallace can't be prevented from rejoining the group.

Independent TD Finian McGrath, the chairman of the group, said yesterday he won't stay in it if Mr Wallace tries to come back.

Mr McGrath said people were "appalled" by Mr Wallace's controversial hitman comments in an interview on RTE's 'Marian Finucane Show'. "It was totally out of order," he said.

The group was giving Mr Wallace some speaking time in the Dail, even though he is no longer a member, but is now cutting off that privilege.

Independent TD John Halligan was equally scathing of Mr Wallace saying he would not give him anything.

"He is not getting one second of my speaking time. I won't budge on that," he said.

Under Dail rules, the only way for Independent TDs to get speaking time in debates is through the Technical Group.

Independent TD Catherine Murphy, the Technical Group chief whip, is asking Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrrett to change the rules.

A meeting of the Technical Group featured a heated discussion on Mr Wallace.

The Wexford TD's friend, Independent TD Clare Daly, was not there as members of the United Left Alliance no longer attend meetings of the Technical Group.

Neither was Independent TD Stephen Donnelly, who Mr Wallace said was "strong" when others were calling for his resignation earlier this year.

Mr Donnelly is sick this week.

Independent TDs Luke 'Ming' Flanagan and Maureen O'Sullivan, who are normally quite supportive of Mr Wallace, reserved their comments to merely saying every TD should be entitled to speak in the Dail, regardless of their membership of a party or group.

Irish Independent

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