9 November 1955 |
Wexford Town, Wexford, Ireland
|Political party||Independents 4 Change (since 2014)|
|Alma mater||University College Dublin|
Mick Wallace (born 9 November 1955) is an Irish Independents 4 Change politician, property developer and former football manager. He was re-elected to Dáil Éireann at the 2016 general election as a TD for the Wexford constituency.
Before and since his election to the Dáil Wallace has spoken out and campaigned against austerity, drug policy and discrimination against women. He has alleged Garda malpractice and queried whether the presence of military aircraft at Shannon Airport is in violation of Irish neutrality. His encounter on state television with justice minister Alan Shatter, during which Shatter divulged personal information about Wallace, led in part to Shatter's resignation.
Wallace has lived in Dublin since his election to the Dáil, two of his children being in full-time education there. For the purposes of Dáil expenses, he is included in the Dublin band (not the band covering his constituency, Wexford, which is further away). This means he receives less than he would otherwise.
Born at Wellington Bridge in Wexford, one of a family of 12 children, he graduated from University College Dublin with a teaching qualification. He married a woman from Duncormick, Co. Wexford in 1979, and they had two sons. Their marriage ended while the couple's children were young. He had two more children from a relationship with a Dublin teacher in the 1990s.
Business and political career
On 5 February 2011, while a guest on Tonight with Vincent Browne, Wallace made the surprise announcement that he intended to contest the next general election on 25 February as an independent candidate. He topped the poll in the Wexford constituency with 13,329 votes. According to John Dwyer, who stood against him in that election, Wallace's tax affairs were "the talk of the pubs, all of these things were known. Because he was such a rebel, because he was prepared to stick the finger up at the authorities, he got elected."
Immediately after the election, Wallace said unregulated drug imports were posing a major health risk and if drugs were regulated, levies could put to use in drug prevention programmes. He also said that the welfare of women working in prostitution would be made better if the trade were not pushed undercover. Elsewhere he has spoken up against what he perceives as discrimination against women by the Irish state.
In May 2011 Wallace said that he would face personal financial ruin and the possible loss of his Dáil seat, if banks were to chase him for personal guarantees he had given them. According to Wallace, his company had passed rents it collected directly to ACCBank since 2008. In a statement Wallace said: "I've tried to build well — we were a very successful company for a long time. We weren't bad, we weren't doing crazy things. We've made money every year for 20 years, employed a lot of people, paid our taxes. But the financial crisis arrived, completely undermined the value of our assets and we're no longer in a great place." He told RTÉ, “If a bank tries to make me bankrupt it has more to do with 'badness' than economics.” On 10 October 2011 the Commercial Court ordered Wallace to repay more than €19 million owed to ACCBank. He said he did not have the money.
He said he was "a bit flabbergasted" by Fine Gael's household charge brought in as part of the 2012 Budget, and by how that party had changed from when it was in opposition. On 15 December 2011 he helped to launch a nationwide campaign against the household charge.
In June 2012 The Irish Times reported that Wallace had made a seven-figure settlement with the Revenue Commissioners for under-payment of VAT. The sum related to his company MJ Wallace Ltd. Wallace admitted in the course of the article that he had knowingly made false declarations to the authorities. Under the agreement with Revenue, MJ Wallace Ltd was found to have underdeclared VAT liabilities on returns by €1,418,894. Interest came to €289,146 and penalties amounting to €425,668 were imposed, giving a total of €2,133,708. Ceann Comhairle Seán Barrett wrote to the Oireachtas Committee on Members' Interests Chairman, asking him to convene an inquiry. When Wallace told an RTÉ radio programme in October 2012 that he once "threatened to hire a hitman to recover an IR£20,000 debt from a building firm", a complaint was filed with Gardaí by a former Navy officer who runs a public information website. Later the same month, Finian McGrath resigned as chairman of the Dáil technical group when Wallace returned to the loose alliance against the wishes of many of its members.
During a debate between the then justice minister Alan Shatter and Wallace on RTÉ television in May 2013, Shatter divulged personal information about Wallace. Shatter was later found to have broken the law. Shatter said he obtained the information from then Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan. Callinan and Shatter both lost their jobs soon afterward, Shatter partially for this breach of the law among other controversies. Wallace disagreed with the appointment of Callinan's successor Nóirín O'Sullivan, citing her previous role as deputy commissioner to Callinan.
In October 2014 Wallace alleged in the Dáil that "There will be some unease about the fact that Denis O'Brien's close political links may have been instrumental in his bid to buy Siteserv, the company that won the State contract to install water meters for Irish Water."
Much has been made of Wallace's fondness for the colour pink. Shortly after being elected, while referring to Mary Mitchell O'Connor in Dáil Éireann, he said "Miss Piggy has toned it down a bit today". He accepted full responsibility and later apologised, saying "It was my fault. I passed the reference because of her handbag. I'm completely out of order. I don't have a leg to stand on […] Clearly it was in bad taste." He called Mitchell O'Connor to apologise and said he would write a letter of apology to her as well. In reference to his fondness for pink, Wallace dyed his hair that colour to raise awareness of cancer in February 2015. Since being elected to the Dáil together for the first time in 2011, Wallace and Dublin North TD Clare Daly have become friends and political allies, and have worked together on many campaigns, including opposition to austerity and revelations of various alleged Garda malpractices, including harassment, cancellation of penalty points in questionable circumstances and involvement of officers in the drug trade. In July 2014 they were both arrested at Shannon Airport while trying to inspect a military aircraft. Wallace said, "All we wanted to do was confirm whether we are being told the truth." Wallace was fined €2,000 for being in an airside area without permission, and chose not to pay. He was sentenced to 30 days in prison in default, and in December 2015 was arrested for non-payment of the fine.
Wallace was accused of politicising the November 2015 Paris attacks by tweeting "So terrible for the victims, but when is France going to stop its role in the militarisation of the planet?" while the attacks were still happening. This sparked an angry reaction on social media.
In December 2015, Wallace and independent TDs Clare Daly and Maureen O'Sullivan each put forward offers of a €5,000 surety for a 23-year-old man being prosecuted under terrorism legislation in the Special Criminal Court in Dublin, charged with membership of an illegal dissident republican organisation.
Joan Burton, then Ireland's Tánaiste (deputy prime minister), accused Wallace of "putting Irish people at risk" of terrorism by repeatedly linking Shannon Airport to US-led wars "simply for the sake of some media coverage".
- "Mick Wallace: Biography". League of Ireland. Retrieved 20 October 2011.
- "Mr. Mick Wallace". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 20 October 2011.
- "The TDs who were paid less than €50k in expenses – and why". The Journal.ie. 2 February 2012. Retrieved 2 February 2012.
- "Weekend Review". Irish Independent, 16 June 2012.
- "Jet-setting football lover still one of Dail's great enigmas". Irish Independent. 9 June 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
- "Mick Wallace among high profile independents set to do well at election". TheJournal.ie. 18 February 2011. Retrieved 18 February 2011.
- "Mick Wallace". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 20 October 2011.
- "Independent TD Wallace says prostitutes would be better protected if their trade was not forced underground". TheJournal.ie. 24 March 2011. Retrieved 24 March 2011.
- Connolly, Shaun (11 June 2014). "Women still being treated badly, says Wallace". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
- O'Donovan, Donal; Brennan, Michael (25 May 2011). "Wallace: I face ruin". Irish Independent. Retrieved 25 May 2011.
- "Receiver appointed to properties of Mick Wallace TD". Irish Independent. 24 May 2011. Retrieved 24 May 2011.
- "Mick Wallace ordered to repay €19m to ACC Bank". RTÉ News. 10 October 2011. Retrieved 10 October 2011.
- "TD Wallace ordered to repay €19m in bank loans". TheJournal.ie. 10 October 2011. Retrieved 10 October 2011.
- "Wallace: I can't pay money back". Irish Examiner. 10 October 2011. Retrieved 10 October 2011.
- "Wallace: I cannot pay 19m euro". The Belfast Telegraph. 10 October 2011. Retrieved 10 October 2011.
- "Mick Wallace doesn't have €19million for bank". Newstalk. Communicorp. 10 October 2011. Retrieved 10 October 2011.
- O'Halloran, Marie (14 December 2011). "Government accused of chasing taxpayers 'to graveyard' for charge". The Irish Times. Retrieved 14 December 2011.
- "TDs would go to jail over household charge". RTÉ News. 15 December 2011. Retrieved 15 December 2011.
- Cullen, Paul (7 June 2012). "Mick Wallace makes €2.1m Revenue settlement". The Irish Times. Retrieved 7 June 2012.
- "Ceann Comhairle Seán Barrett seeks inquiry on Wallace tax affairs". RTÉ News. 8 June 2012. Retrieved 8 June 2012.
- Brennan, Michael (9 October 2012). "Mick Wallace faces garda probe over 'hitman' remarks after ex-Navy officer files complaint". Irish Independent. Retrieved 9 October 2012.
- "McGrath quits as chairman of Dáil's technical group in Wallace row". TheJournal.ie. 16 October 2012. Retrieved 16 October 2012.
- Horan, Niamh; Drennan, John (4 May 2014). "Final straw as Alan Shatter breaks law on Mick Wallace: Data Protection Commissioner made adverse finding against the minister". Irish Independent. Retrieved 4 May 2014.
- Lally, Conor (4 November 2014). "Shatter disclosed Wallace information for 'political advantage'". The Irish Times. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
- "Alan Shatter loses appeal against Mick Wallace data breach decision: The former minister was found to have broken the law when he made comments on RTÉ's Prime Time about Wallace". TheJournal.ie. 21 January 2015. Retrieved 21 January 2015.
- "Commissioner told Shatter about Mick Wallace's encounter with Gardaí: Opposition TDs have demanded to know how an unrecorded incident came to be known by the country's top Garda". TheJournal.ie. 21 May 2013. Retrieved 21 May 2013.
- "Ireland's Minister for Justice Alan Shatter resigns". IrishCentral. 7 May 2014. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
Shatter's position has been under pressure in recent months following a [...] bugging scandal, [...] improper cancellation of driver’s penalty points, police whistleblower controversies and a breach of data protection regarding Wexford Independent TD Mick Wallace.
- "Wallace criticises appointment of Garda Commissioner O'Sullivan". Irish Independent. 26 November 2014. Retrieved 26 November 2014.
- "Iris Oifigiúil, 14th March 2014" (PDF). Retrieved 20 May 2014.
- Kelly, Olivia (13 October 2014). "Mick Wallace's claims over water meter company sale 'shabby', says Alan Dukes". The Irish Times. Retrieved 13 October 2014.
- "Sartorial freedom fighters or the emperor's new clothes?". Irish Independent. 16 July 2011. Retrieved 16 July 2011.
- "Miss Piggy remark was wrong, I'm so sorry – Mick apologises". Irish Independent. 13 July 2011. Retrieved 13 July 2011.
- "Mick Wallace has dyed his hair pink". TheJournal.ie. 20 February 2015. Retrieved 20 February 2015.
- "Wallace: 'I've heard so many people cry now, it really is heartbreaking stuff' – Since this week's publicity surrounding the gardaí, Mick Wallace said more people have come to him with information". TheJournal.ie. 1 March 2014. Retrieved 1 March 2014.
- O'Halloran, Marie (3 October 2014). "Wallace in new claims of Garda harassment over Kilkenny pub: Independent TD claims 'blatant disregard' for new rules by some senior members of force". The Irish Times. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
- Griffin, Dan; Minihan, Mary (11 December 2014). "Mick Wallace claims gardaí involved in drugs trade: Independent TD says he and colleagues revealed only a fraction of wrongdoing allegations". The Irish Times. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
- "Mick Wallace and Clare Daly are arrested at Shannon Airport". TheJournal.ie. 22 July 2014. Retrieved 22 July 2014.
- "Two TDs arrested at Shannon Airport". BreakingNews.ie. 22 July 2014. Retrieved 22 July 2014.
- Cullen, Clare (14 November 2015). "Paris Terror Attacks: Mick Wallace sparks anger on Twitter over Paris terror attacks tweet". Irish Independent. Retrieved 19 December 2015.
- Hickey, Daniel (17 December 2015). "Mick Wallace and Clare Daly among sureties on bail application for man arrested on IRA and explosive charges". Irish Independent. Retrieved 18 December 2015.
- "Mick Wallace 'putting people at risk' by linking Shannon airport to US-led wars". Irish Examiner. 18 December 2015. Retrieved 18 December 2015.
- "Court rules that Wallace must pay €2m to US vulture fund – Independent.ie". Independent.ie. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
- "Independents 4 Change". TheJournal.ie. Retrieved 15 February 2016.
- "Wexford constituency | The Irish Times". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2016-03-07.
|Independent Teachta Dála for Wexford