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Daly demands slice of Socialists' cash as she starts as Independent

THEY have been dubbed the 'Champagne Socialists' -- and it appears that the row between Clare Daly and Joe Higgins has switched from 'Mick Wallace' to 'money'.

The bizarre rift between the pair deepened today after Mr Higgins ruled out the prospect of handing over thousands of euro in allowances to his former party colleague.

Ms Daly is attempting to secure a portion of the €143,000 allowances pot due to be paid to the Socialist Party after her shock resignation on Friday.



Bitter

The Dublin North TD is beginning her first week as an Independent deputy after quitting the party following a bitter row surrounding her unwavering support for tax cheat Mick Wallace after he was exposed for landing the taxpayer with a €2.1m VAT bill.

But the row has today moved to the issue of State funding -- with Deputy Daly admitting that she intends to secure a "portion" of the €143,000 due to be paid to the Socialist Party.

"I've asked for a portion equivalent to what an Independent deputy would receive," according to the TD.

However speaking this morning, Mr Higgins ruled out the possibility of handing over any cash to the firebrand TD.

"The Party Leaders' allowance, according to the legislation, is for the use of the political party -- policy development, structure, etc ... and it can only be used in that regard. Now establishment parties, when they have lost deputies in the past have kept the full allowance which they are entitled to do by law," he said.

"The Socialist Party is not going to do that. We will be contacting the Department of Finance to say that we will only accept the equivalent of one deputy registered political party. The remainder will stay with the Department of Finance."

Ms Daly infuriated senior figures in the party after refusing to criticise Mr Wallace when it emerged that one of his company's underpayed €1.4m in VAT.

The former builder has now racked up a €2.1m tax bill that he claims he is repaying to the State from his Dail salary. Ms Daly announced on Saturday that she was resigning from the party in order to "prioritise the building" of the United Left Alliance (ULA).

She is expected to keep the same seat in the Dail beside Mr Wallace. She has developed a close friendship with him since being elected last year.

She stated several times over the weekend that her resignation had nothing to do with her close relationship with Mr Wallace -- a claim that has been dismissed outright by Joe Higgins.

Speaking today, Mr Higgins said that a "very serious disagreement" emerged over Ms Daly's "public support" for the ex-developer.

"Unfortunately over the months of June and July, very serious disagreements emerged between the Socialist Party and Clare Daly because of the public and political support that she gave to Deputy Mick Wallace in the wake of the revelations of very serious tax evasion from the days as a developer."

However he rejected suggestions that the party was preparing to give Ms Daly the boot, before she resigned.

Ms Daly did not respond to a request for comment today.


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