Socialist Party warns ULA members over Daly's support for Wallace


THE SOCIALIST Party last night laid down a warning to other members of the United Left Alliance over Clare Daly’s continued involvement with the grouping while maintaining close political connections with Wexford TD and developer Mick Wallace.

In a long and strongly worded statement, three days after the Dublin North TD’s resignation from the Socialist Party, her former colleagues put a question mark over its support for her status in the ULA, a broadly based alliance comprised of small left-wing parties and groups.

While saying the party would welcome her involvement in the ULA, it insisted the issue of her continuing alliance with Mr Wallace, who knowingly underdeclared VAT returns, could not be “swept under the carpet” by other ULA groups and needed to be discussed as a matter of urgency.

“The outcome of that discussion clearly could affect Clare Daly’s status in the ULA,” it said.

The statement from the party’s sole remaining TD, Joe Higgins, and its MEP, Paul Murphy, suggested the only way in which Ms Daly’s status in the ULA (which has five TDs) could be resolved was if she broke her political alliance and connection with Mr Wallace.

“Asking Clare to do this isn’t unreasonable, it’s a political necessity,” it said.

Mr Wallace was mentioned by name nine times in the statement, which instanced the occasions on which the Socialist Party believed Ms Daly had supported the Wexford TD rather than the party. It repeated the assertion that her support for Mr Wallace “has already inflicted serious damage on herself, and some damage on the Socialist Party and the United Left Alliance”.

The two People Before Profit TDs in the ULA, Richard Boyd Barrett and Joan Collins, yesterday said Ms Daly should continue in the alliance.

Ms Collins unconditionally supported Ms Daly. “I absolutely look forward to working with Clare Daly as one of five ULA TDs,” she said. She said as far as she was concerned, her connection with Mr Wallace was not an issue, as she had already said he was “absolutely wrong” on the VAT issue.

Mr Boyd Barrett was more circumspect. He said: “My view is that I would hope that Clare Daly does stay in the ULA.

“Our position on Mick Wallace is clear. We condemn his evasion of tax responsibilities, and there is no question of supporting him. Where Clare Daly stands in relation to that, she will need to clarify it at the next ULA meeting.”

Meanwhile, the Socialist Party said yesterday it will voluntarily hand back to the exchequer half of the €143,000 annual party leader’s allowance it receives following the resignation from the party of Ms Daly.

Under the provisions of 2001 legislation setting up the party leader’s allowance, a registered party is entitled to receive €71,520 for each of the first 10 TDs elected in a general election, €57,000 for each of the next 20 TDs and €28,616 for each TD from 30 upwards.

Individual TDs not aligned to any party also get a party leader’s allowance of €41,152.

The allowance is based on the general election results, and parties continue to receive the full amount even if a TD resigns.

Yesterday, Mr Higgins said he was writing to the Department of Finance asking it to pay only the allowance to which a registered party with one TD would be entitled – €71,520 – rather than the full allowance, to which his party remained legally entitled.