Wallace critical of former colleagues

Thu, Jul 19, 2012, 01:00

INDEPENDENT WEXFORD TD Mick Wallace has criticised some of his former colleagues in the Dáil technical group over their attitude to his business difficulties.

He said he found it “a bit nauseating”.

Mr Wallace said he had people from the Socialist Party and People Before Profit lecturing him on business and telling him what he should or should not have done.

“It is actually difficult to take lectures from people who never employed anyone in their life . . . and many of them who never did a day’s manual work,” he added. “It has been a bit nauseating.”

Mr Wallace’s company, M J Wallace Ltd, was on the Revenue Commissioners’ list of defaulters last month, with a total liability of €2.1 million. He later resigned from the technical group.

Speaking during the resumed debate on the Personal Insolvency Bill 2012, Mr Wallace said he had some very negative experiences with “sheriffs coming to look for their piece of meat”.

They were aggressive and not afraid to kick the door in, he said, adding that they did not seem to behave in a very regulated fashion.

“Their biggest priority is getting their €470 call-out fee and you do not even get a receipt for it,” he said.

John O’Mahony (FG, Mayo) said people with an adverse rating with the Irish Credit Bureau were unable to borrow for daily needs, get a credit card or even open a bank account.

“Typically, these are self-employed . . . or employees of companies or of the State who bought investment properties in the past 10 years,” he added.

“They invested much of their savings as deposits and borrowed the balance from the bank, or offered their own home as security and borrowed the full property costs from their banks.”

Mr O’Mahony said such people were encouraged to do so by the property sellers and by the readily available credit from the banks.

He also warned that if compound interest was extracted in full, it would “completely bury thousands of people”.

John Paul Phelan (FG, Carlow-Kilkenny) said he had been struck by the number of couples and individuals coming to his office and clinics who were moved to the point of tears and frightened for their futures.

John Halligan (Independent, Waterford) said any measure that could bring relief to people with mounting debts and reduced capacity to pay was progressive.

However, the fact that the legislation afforded banks or other lenders a potential veto on any debt settlement or personal insolvency arrangement would make the Bill meaningless to many people, he added.