Tuesday 20 August 2019

Wallace in stormy TV show stand-off over tax

Vincent Browne
Vincent Browne

Adam Cullen

A Wexford Fianna Fáil candidate has slammed TD Mick Wallace amid claims he was "stealing from the young couples and individuals of Ireland" by not paying the VAT he received when selling his "€300,000 apartments".

Speaking to the Irish Independent Malcolm Byrne said Mr Wallace lacked "all credibility" when it came to debating topics such as "taxation and finance in the Dáil chamber" after his company fell foul of Revenue in 2012 owing some €2.1m in unpaid VAT.

The pair squared off during a heated debate in Whites Hotel in Wexford while filming the Peoples Debate with Vincent Browne on Monday night.

During the event, which is due to air tonight, Mr Byrne said the embattled TD failed to fulfil his tax commitments and criticised him for failing to make pension payments for his former employees.

The spat allegedly caused Mr Wallace to claim that if the segment was not edited out of the final cut that he would be forced to take legal action.

Witnesses say Browne told Wallace that nobody dictates what way the show is edited.

However, TV3 deny any such claim was made.

"TD Mick Wallace did not threaten to sue Vincent Brown or TV3," said a spokeswoman. "There was no argument between Vincent and Mr Wallace. The argument was between TD Mick Wallace and a Fianna Fáil candidate.

"The segment will be broadcast as planned on The People's Debate with Vincent Browne, which airs from 10pm and the argument will not be edited out."

In response to Mr Bryne's statements during the debate Mr Wallace said he had informed the public of his tax affairs and said he didn't try to cover anything up.

He also said he had given half of his TD's salary to Revenue and added that if elected for a second term in the five seat constituency that he would give all of his salary entitlements to Revenue.

However, Mr Byrne claimed the "empty gesture" fails to undo his past endeavours.

"In effect what Wallace did was take massive amounts of money from young couples and individuals in Ireland for his apartments and houses," he said.

"A large chunk of that money was VAT, and he was entrusted with paying that to the Revenue Commissioners so we can pay for public services. But he never did. In effect he stole that money from the Irish people," he added.

Mr Wallace did not respond to the requests for comment. It's thought the race to top the poll will be hotly contested by Mr Wallace, who clinched the top spot in 2011.

Irish Independent

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