Fine Gael inquiry 'cleared' defaulter
TAX:FINE GAEL has refused to say what action it took against one of its county councillors who, like Independent TD Mick Wallace, was declared a tax defaulter.
However, a son of councillor Percy Clendennen from Co Offaly said yesterday his father was cleared by an internal inquiry and has retained the whip though he did receive a warning.
In June 2011, the Revenue Commissioners’ list of tax defaulters included the name of Mr Clendennen, a publican, who reached a €125,000 settlement for underdeclaration of VAT.
Last week Fine Gael chairman Charlie Flanagan called on Mr Wallace to consider his position after the Independent TD said he had underdeclared VAT by €1.4 million. Mr Flanagan was the first politician to criticise Mr Wallace’s admission to The Irish Times, but he was followed by several Fine Gael TDs who called for Mr Wallace’s resignation.
The party yesterday refused to comment on the case of Mr Clendennen who, like Mr Wallace, was found to have underdeclared VAT returns. “The party will not be commenting in advance of making public the result of its internal deliberations,” a spokesman said.
The slow pace with which Fine Gael has dealt with Mr Clendennen’s case over 12 months contrasts with its handling of Naas councillor Darren Scully after he said he would no longer represent black constituents. A disciplinary case which saw the whip removed from Mr Scully was processed within three months.
On a previous occasion when The Irish Times contacted Fine Gael about Mr Clendennen’s case, the party refused to say even who sits on its disciplinary committee or what sanction it could take.
A Revenue audit found the councillor from Kinnitty had underdeclared VAT by €62,500. Penalties and interest accounted for the rest of the settlement.
Speaking on his behalf, son John Clendennen said yesterday his father had discussions with the Fine Gael disciplinary committee and was cleared. He said his father’s case was very different from Mr Wallace’s.