The question for Wallace

Thu, Jun 14, 2012, 01:00

Sir, – I went on hunger strike during Lent to highlight the lack of justice in the sentencing of people for offences from abuse to manslaughter, to avoiding paying the right VAT rate on produce imported into this country.

Nothing has changed regarding the way sentences are handed down to offenders, but I have noticed that people are looking and comparing sentences for various breaches of the law and many people are both unhappy about the situation and in some cases making their feelings known to the media.

I was delighted to see the election of Mick Wallace to the Dáil at the last election because I have seen what he has done for Wexford over the years – including bringing League of Ireland football to the county.

I was therefore very shocked to hear him admit on national radio to the non-payment of VAT. It would appear that this money will never be paid, as his company is in receivership. I thought that his attitude to his actions was shocking as he appeared to be under the illusion that he had done nothing wrong and there was no reason for him to resign as a TD. I cannot let this pass without writing to you.

There are many people living on the breadline in this country because they cannot pay their mortgages, or who have to cut back on food and other essentials while they pay money to keep a roof over their heads. Some of these people live in apartments bought from Mr Wallace – who paid no VAT on same.

It seems that despite the wasted millions spent on tribunals that it is not possible to expel a member of the Dáil for admitting on the national airwaves that they committed a criminal act. The taxpayers of this country, many living in properties bought from Mr Wallace, are expected to pay his wages. This is wrong, it is unfair and it brings yet more shame on the Dáil at a time when people are trying to save the country from economic ruin by accepting austerity and when many see their children (my own daughter included) leave the country possibly never to return.

Mr Wallace should not have to think about resigning his seat: he should be the man that those who elected him thought him to be, and resign at once, making a statement to the Dáil saying how sorry he is to have let so many people who trusted in him down. By doing so he would gain back some of the respect that I, among many others, had for him.

He would have the opportunity to rebuild his reputation and would not be remembered as the man who entered the Dáil on the basis that the country needed honest hard-working people like him there to represent all that is good about Irish people and then revealed that he was no more than a common criminal.

He should go and go now so as not to bring more shame on himself and his family. Everyone deserves a second chance and by resigning he gives himself the opportunity to have one and prove what many of us thought him to be: a good man who did much to improve the lives of his county and people. – Yours, etc,

DAVID SYMS (Rev),

Senior Pastor, SP,

Baptist Church of Ireland,

Church Strand View,

Baltimore, Co Cork.

Sir, – In a country that thinks of itself as Christian, is it not difficult to understand the hypocrisy that pervades the media and public utterances concerning Mick Wallace’s wrongdoing? That what he did was wrong he himself brought to public notice. How rare is that? Are there other public figures who are elected by the public who would care to meet the standards of Mick Wallace’s honesty?

I wonder, for example, how many of the Sinn Féin TDs and in Northern Ireland the MLAs might have illegal actions to reveal to us? We are well aware of the numerous indiscretions of present and past elected politicians after the spate of tribunals of recent years.

Let’s applaud the up-front Mick Wallace approach and at least try to practise some of what is preached in our churches. The Lord’s Prayer puts it rather well: “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”. Maybe even Mick Wallace TD? – Yours, etc,

ANDREW DAVIDSON,

C/o Mount Venus Road,

Rathfarnham, Dublin 16.

Sir, – When I didn’t even know that Mick Wallace’s building company was in financial trouble, he knew that the taxpayers of this stricken nation wanted to make a financial contribution to saving the company. Consequently, he misrepresented his tax bill so we could contribute to his (unsuccessful) plan to preserve his income and the jobs of his employees. This was not the action of an ordinary citizen. He is a telepathic philanthropist – with other people’s money.

I am equally indebted to the other politicians whose behaviour was in a similar vein. They are the other “extraordinary” people who, when “ordinary” citizens were being forced to take pay cuts and many politicians and some public figures were volunteering to take salary reductions, refused to take reductions and decided to make a contribution to charity.

We are blessed to have such wonderful leaders and exemplars, saints really, who facilitate selflessly our participation in laudable works of mercy. – Yours, etc,

COLM MULLEN,

The Warren,

Malahide, Co Dublin.

Sir, – Who cares if Mick Wallace resigns from the technical group! What a fuss! All the activity in the Dáil only feeds his need for publicity.

He deserves no platform for weasel words of explanation! Let him resign his seat and start to pay off his debts – and be subject to normal legal remedies. – Yours, etc,

RUTH RYAN,

Greenfield Crescent,

Dublin 4.