TD's tax evasion bombshell renders technical group speechless
DÁIL SKETCH:JOXER WALLETS from Wexford is off to Poland today, where he is sure of a welcome on the VAT.
“I’m going to the three Irish games and a couple of other matches,” the broke deputy told broadcaster Matt Cooper on Wednesday evening, having nipped over from Dáil Éireann to talk about his passion for football.
He was on radio again yesterday, this time admitting on Morning Ireland that he knowingly made a false VAT declaration, underpaying to the tune of nearly €1.5 million.
But the Independent TD for Wexford is a lucky guy. The Dáil, where he is currently employed, is in session during the European Championships. Happily for him, he has an understanding boss – the Irish taxpayer – and can take the time off to join Ireland’s travelling band of Joxers.
And if Mick Wallets is stopped by customs at the Polish border, he can tell them: “I have nothing to declare but my substantial property portfolio and a vineyard in Italy.”
The bombshell news of his tax evasion was the talk of Leinster House. It came as such a shock to Mick’s colleagues in the technical group that they were unable to speak or answer their telephones for most of the day.
Not a peep out of the permanently indignant socialist-leaning wing of the group, of which deputy Wallets is a member. They went to ground.
Yet here they were, with a cast-iron opportunity to stand up and fulminate about one law for the rich and another for the ordinary Joe. But they had nothing to say. Very strange.
The irony wasn’t lost on the main parties. They asked what would have happened in the Dáil if one of their number – a property developer to boot – was found to have lied to the taxman and deprived the State of a huge amount of money? They were pretty sure that the likes of Joe Higgins and Richard Boyd Barrett and Ming Flanagan would have been screaming blue murder and demanding a head on a plate.
After Leaders’ Questions, a large contingent from the technical group repaired to the members bar. A Fianna Fáil deputy later reported that they were huddled in conversation with deputy Wallets.
“Maybe it was an emergency meeting of their ethics committee” he snorted.
Meanwhile, Mattie McGrath, who would consider himself part of the group’s capitalist rump, spoke of his unease with situation. An uncomfortable Boyd-Barrett surfaced on teatime radio, striking an uncharacteristically weak tone.
Slowly, some of his colleagues put their heads above the parapet to mutter that it was not their place to pronounce on a fellow deputy’s suitability to hold elected office.
What could they do? Take a stand, perhaps.
A number of them finally issued a statement last night indicating they did not condone their colleague’s action
The Fianna Fáilers – routine targets for the moral outrage of Mick’s comrades – thought it a hoot. The mortification of the Technical Group was matched by their amusement.
It was left to deputies from Fine Gael and Labour to denounce deputy Wallets in the house.
By late afternoon, word swept Kildare Street that Deputy Wallets had already left on his Polish odyssey. In fact, he had gone out to RTÉ to reiterate that he had been a very good boy until he withheld his VAT. “The idea that I’m a serial tax defaulter, I think, is very unfair,” he whinged. Anyway, he did nothing wrong on a personal level . . .
And so what, if Joxer Wallets wants to take off now for the European Championships? When he comes back from the soccer beano, his colleagues will have a welcome on the VAT and a ready-made defence.
Sure we all partied . . .