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Builder in poll race has €40m debts

MICK Wallace, the anti-establishment Wexford builder, has made history as the only candidate to admit fighting the General Election while nursing debts of €40m.

Mr Wallace, who is running as an independent, said yesterday he owes the vast debt to three banks and is fighting to keep his businesses alive.

The only reason he has avoided going into National Assets Management Agency (Nama) is because his loans are with foreign-owned banks, and therefore exempt.

The builder announced that he was running on Vincent Browne's television show on Friday, to the surprise of other panellists.

Yesterday, Mr Wallace admitted that he has serious financial problems and that his business may not survive.

His businesses were worth more than €70m at the height of the boom but he said he now has debts of about €40m.

"My main loans are with ACC, Ulster Bank and Bank of Scotland," he added. "I have problems with all of the banks. Listen, it's very possible my business will not survive. I am trying to do my bit to make it survive. I have been fighting since September 2007," he said.

He added that he "expects to perish" if he can't "make ends meet and pay the bills" and expects the same to happen to banks.

He employs 10 in his construction business and about 50 in his wine bar and restaurant businesses.

Sunday Independent