BY any standards, Mick Wallace should have resigned his Dail seat at this stage and decided, in the interests of everyone, never to stand before the electorate again.
His continued status as a TD is wrong and is a snub and insult to taxpayers who firstly have to ensure their tax compliance, and secondly who have to pay for the likes of Wallace to be a public representative.
Wallace has explained his position in the context of the dire predicament his company found itself in.
Already developers have been given far too easy a ride in this country.
Its curious, to say the least, that many of the ‘bankrupt’ and ‘broke’ ones are still living helicopter lifestyles, despite their supposed straitened financial positions, and the large debts they owe to many of their suppliers, who can ill afford them.
There is seemingly no shaming them.
Wallace eschewed the bling aspects that defined many of his contemporaries, did some good community work, and was generally seen as being a good man.
He then decided to enter public life, in full knowledge of his position regarding tax. He was wrong.
He under declared VAT, when people buying his apartments were paying him the same tax.
How Wallace will fare now is a real test for a political system which has too often been perceived as been unaccountable and self serving.
The signs are ominous for the capacity of the system to deal with this.
Already some members of his own technical group have fared very badly on the issue.
While condemning what Wallace did as wrong, many have fallen back on the mantra that it is a matter for the people of Wexford.
Well, it’s not.
Many of the same deputies would be shrill in their denunciations if it was a member of a government party, or Fianna Fail.
At the very least they should be demanding Wallace’s immediate resignation. Even the main parties have been largely mute on the issue.
When is a wrong not a wrong, and how far can double standards go?
How can a national parliament expect any public respect for its authority or ability when the rules are not applied to its own members.
Any justification of Wallace’s actions is obviated by the case of family businessman. Paul Begley who is currently serving a six year jail term in Mountjoy for evaded import duty on garlic from China.
Mr Begley’s firm made a full admission of what they did, and worked with Revenue in repaying the money due.
Wallace cannot even repay the money. Instead, he made a big show last week of going to Poznan, ditching his trademark pink tshirt for a green one. His version of radical chic rings somewhat hollow.
Mr Begley, or many of the small businesses up and down the country struggling to survive and pay their rates and taxes, are unable to travel anywhere at the moment.
How can sentences such as the Begley one can be handed down, while there seems to be a different playing field for the Celtic Tiger breed of developers and financiers.
In the case of Mick Wallace, the Irish public is once again been treated to a tale of two Irelands.
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