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Saturday 17 February 2018

Wallace forced to resign from committees

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

INDEPENDENT TD Mick Wallace was forced off two committees yesterday as a result of the continuing controversy about his tax affairs.

It was the final stage of his departure from the Dail Technical Group of Independent and the small-party TDs, some of whom moved to get rid of him after the revelations about his company's €2.1m tax settlement with Revenue..

He was replaced on the Committee on Investigations, Oversight and Petitions by United Left Alliance TD Richard Boyd Barrett. And he was replaced on the Committee on European Union Affairs by Independent Waterford TD John Halligan.

But Independent TD Finian McGrath denied claims from Labour chief whip Emmet Stagg that Mr Wallace had been "sacked" from the committees.

"Mick was very dignified and went on his way quietly. So we didn't sack him unlike what Emmet Stagg, the Kildare motormouth, said," Mr McGrath said.

Mr Wallace had stepped aside from the technical group after it emerged his M&J Wallace construction company had under-declared VAT returns worth €1.4m to Revenue and had not paid-off the subsequent €2.1m tax settlement.

Although TDs who leave political parties usually are forced to move to a new seat, Mr Wallace will retain his Dail seat in the Technical Group area.

It emerged last night that the members of the Dail committee investigating Mr Wallace's tax settlement were annoyed by his refusal to reveal key details.

For the second time in the space of a week, he declined to supply the exact date when the settlement with Revenue was reached.

This is a key detail because he can only be investigated by his fellow TDs if the settlement was agreed after he was elected in March last year.

Mr Wallace also refused a request to give Revenue permission to hand over their file to the Dail members' interests committee.

If the committee receives no extra information from Mr Wallace, it is likely to call a halt to its investigation and pass the matter back to the Dail.

Irish Independent

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