Ross says he had asked Wallace to resign


MICK WALLACE AFFAIR:INDEPENDENT TD for Dublin South Shane Ross has said he asked fellow Independent Mick Wallace to consider resigning from the technical group last Friday.

Accusing others of “grandstanding” on the situation, Mr Ross said he had kept his approach confidential because he thought it best to let Mr Wallace consider his position over the weekend. Mr Ross is a member of the technical group.

“I sent him an email and I telephoned him and I asked him if he would consider resigning from the technical group because I thought his position there was untenable,” he said.

Mr Ross told RTÉ’s Six-One News Mr Wallace did not reply, but he again asked him to resign when the pair met in Leinster House yesterday.

Mr Wallace stood down from the technical group following a meeting with the group’s whip Catherine Murphy in Leinster House yesterday.

Mr Ross said the technical group had immediately condemned what Mr Wallace had done.

Nine members of the group released a statement on Thursday saying they did not condone Mr Wallace’s behaviour, that they believed he had done wrong, and that he should be held “equally accountable” as any other TD or citizen.

Asked whether Mr Wallace was fit to continue as a member of the Dáil, Mr Ross said: “My view is that his best position is this: is to come clean on absolutely everything before the Dáil – to face a motion of censure which would undoubtedly pass against him on the facts that we know of his behaviour. And then for the Dáil to decide after that whether or not he’s fit to be a TD in their opinion.”

Mr Ross said it should be remembered that Mr Wallace could not be removed from the Dáil, “but I think he’ll know by the sort of messages that he’s got from us today . . . what the views of the Dáil members are”.

Another member of the technical group, John Halligan from Waterford, reiterated his belief Mr Wallace should resign his seat.

He said that he liked Mr Wallace and said they were colleagues, but he “had to be consistent in my views on defrauding the tax system”.

Seamus Healy, a member of the United Left Alliance (ULA) who represents the Unemployed Action Group in Tipperary South, has also said Mr Wallace should resign.

Ms Murphy said she had not called for Mr Wallace’s resignation, and did not believe it was up to her to do so. She said he had been democratically elected to the Dáil, “and it is up to the people of Wexford”.

Ms Murphy said the five ULA members had not been involved in asking Mr Wallace to leave the technical group yesterday.

The party whips, who normally meet on Wednesday at 5pm, will hold a special meeting today to discuss Mr Wallace’s request to address the Dáil.

Government chief whip Paul Kehoe will be joined by Emmet Stagg of Labour, Seán Ó Fearghaíl of Fianna Fáil, Aengus Ó Snodaigh of Sinn Féin and Ms Murphy.

Indicating she would not support a motion of censure against Mr Wallace, Ms Murphy said: “If it was something done while he was in office, it’s a different story in relation to a motion of censure.”

Mr Wallace’s under-declaration of VAT occurred in 2008-2009, which was before he was elected to the Dáil.