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The builder, the hitman and VAT bill . . . could it get any worse for Mick?

TAX-CHEAT Mick Wallace is under massive pressure to quit the Dail after admitting threatening to use a hitman over an unpaid debt.

The Independent TD was branded a "disgrace" by his former pals in the Technical Group, who are now expected to cut his speaking time in Leinster House.

His one-time ally, Dublin South Central TD Joan Collins, today condemned the comments. "Of course I condemn it. But I have no control over what Mr Wallace says in public," she told the Herald.

Mr Wallace previously spoke about his dealings with a debt collector who carried a gun in a 2005 but has now reignited the controversy.

He shocked listeners of a weekend radio show when he expanded on that statement, saying he had talked to a "hitman" about recovering a IR£20,000 debt owed to him by a construction firm.

The former developer, who owes the taxpayer a €2.1m VAT bill, openly joked about his intentions to employ someone who used a "gun" to intimidate businesses.







Collector

"I just happened to meet a guy in the pub the next night and he told me about what he did and all and how he made his living ... he was a debt collector," Mr Wallace said on RTE's The Marian Finucane Show'.

He added that he asked this man: "If I said to you, 'Go get my money,, how would you do it?"

"Well, he says, I'd just need his name, he says, and the company he works for, and he says I'd find out the rest and I'd go out to his house at 8 or 9 o'clock at night ... and I'd put my foot in the door and I'd have a gun on me and I'd give him seven days to pay and generally they pay."

Mr Wallace first mentioned meeting with the debt collector in a 2005 interview but said at the time that he sought the individual out.

"So I knew of a guy made a living out of a gun ... I made contact with him and said: 'Listen, there's a guy owes me €20,000 -- will you get it for me?'"

But his decision to yet again openly joke about employing the individual has infuriated his fellow TDs.

Two members of the Dail Technical Group -- of which Mr Wallace was previously a member -- have also strongly condemned the remarks.

The group's chairman, Finian McGrath TD, condemned Mr Wallace, adding that many members were "disgusted".

Mr Wallace did not return calls this morning.

hnews@herald.ie


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