Perception is everything. Be it in politics, everyday life, or even sitting at home on your own tweeting banalities and faux outrage at whatever Vincent Browne is screaming at his guests.
Yesterday we learned that the silver fox, Wexford TD Mick Wallace is off the hook over his €1.4 million tax dodge. Today we learned that Seamus McBrien, the owner of Target Express, had to cease trading because his company owed Revenue just over €300,000. He said that Revenue wanted him to pay a further €80,000 by Wednesday, but he told them that he would pay on the Friday. When the payment was not received on Wednesday, an attachment order was put on the company’s bank accounts. This meant he could not access money or pay wages. So his company was forced to shut its doors, resulting in the loss of 390 jobs. The employees of Target Express have not been paid for two weeks.
Seamus McBrien further revealed that his firm has paid one million euro to the Revenue Commissioners in the past six weeks. He has said Revenue rejected a deal which would have seen the company pay off a further €175,000 from an overall outstanding liability of €300,000. The Revenue has defended its actions against Target Express to RTE here.
Mick Wallace – TD for Wexford, former property developer and connoisseur of all things Italian – admitted to having knowingly made a false VAT declaration to Revenue, but says he did so in order to save the jobs of his employees. Around the same time that Wallace defrauded the State, he gave himself and his son a collective pay rise of €300,000. Was he trying to save jobs, or his bank balance ?
Picture source Jim Sheridan
Wallace has said he will donate half his Dáil salary towards paying back Revenue. That would means being a backbench TD for 87 years or so in order to pay back the €2.1 million owed in taxes and penalties. It should be pointed out that Wallace had previously stated that the money would probably never be paid as the company was insolvent and he was not personally liable. He only relented after the public outcry. He still owes millions to AIB, which you and I, as taxpayers, own.
The only admonishment Mick Wallace is likely to receive is a Dáil censure, which holds all the weight of your Mother telling you ‘don’t do it again’. Wallace will still have a very comfortable lifestyle. How many business men around the country have actually gone to jail for less? A lot I can assure you. Why is Mick getting off scott free ?
Target Express will shut its doors with the loss of 390 jobs. Is there a long term benefit to the loss of these jobs? Did Revenue do a cost benefit analysis of the loss of income to the State through PAYE taxes and the addition of another 390 hard-pressed tax payers to the social welfare bill?
What kind of message does it send it when one of our legislators in the Dail a TD, can thumb is nose at the tax payer while the Revenue throw 390 souls to the wolves ?
We wonder why people hold politics in low esteem….. Perception is everything.