| 4.8°C Dublin

Lay off Mick

• The more I read and hear on the radio of the Mick Wallace affair, the more I despair for this country.

I despair, not because there are TDs and people in business making dodgy tax returns, but because there is no understanding in the Dail of the reality of trying to keep a business alive today.

In business, in politics and in life you have to make choices; sometimes there are good and bad options but for lots of business people nowadays there are only bad options.

When you only have bad options to choose from, it is impossible to do the right thing. I can understand the position Mr Wallace found himself in when sales started falling through, when the banks turned off the credit that businesses in a normal economy can rely on, and wages still had to be paid.

I can put myself in his shoes where the decision was to buy time by underpaying a VAT bill or to stop paying the wages and to close the door. I can also understand the bond between a business owner and their business.

You do not let your business die without fighting for it, and fighting dirty if you have to. You cannot sit in that meeting with your accountant and detach yourself from the emotional involvement you have with your business, because in many ways it is you.

I can respect a man for fighting for something he believed in. I have no respect for the hurlers on the ditch that make up the Dail and that sit in sanctimonious judgment of Mr Wallace. I can also respect a man who can admit, in plain language, that he did the wrong thing.

I have no respect for those that sit in their comfy chairs while the rest of us struggle, who lecture about paying tax while they feather their own nests with outrageous salaries and pensions.

I, along with many friends and family who are self-employed, struggle and do whatever it takes to survive because we have no other choice, no safety net, no pension for us if we lose our businesses, no soft landing. Sometimes the only choices we have on the frontline are bad choices.

I realise our political betters don't understand the world I live and work in at all, and if they don't understand it, don't understand the problems I and countless other small and not-so-small businesses face, then how are they going to fix our problems? I think Mr Wallace probably understands, better than most, how difficult things are; nothing teaches you like experience. I hope Mr Wallace survives this witch-hunt because then we will still have at least one TD who understands what it's like for those of us that are trying to keep our businesses afloat.

It is all well and good for Enda and Co to act like scolded children in our dealings with the EU, but we are fighting for survival out here and maybe if we had some TDs in the Dail who knew how to fight a little tougher, and if necessary fight a little dirtier, then we'd all be a little better off.

A little better off would be a good start.

Eamonn Barry
Ardfert, Co Kerry

Irish Independent