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TDs of Note.
Mr Wallace one of the leading voices to decend on the Gardai and use their positions to damn a whole service repeatedly. 

Not using third hand information it seems more trouble follows this man than most leading criminals. 

Irish deputy gave €500k winery to brother at same time he refused to pay €1.4m tax
By Michael O'farrell 02:17 17 Jun 2012, updated 14:28 17 Jun 2012
  • Tax-dodging Mick Wallace is facing fresh questions over the way he transferred a €500,000 Italian villa and vineyard to his brother 

  • Mr Wallace has acknowledged that he lied and deliberately committed tax fraud during 2008 and 2009

Tax-dodging Deputy Mick Wallace is facing fresh questions over the way he transferred a €500,000 Italian villa and vineyard to his brother – at the same time he was refusing to pay €1.4m to the Revenue.

The 2009 transfer was done in such a way that Mr Wallace is still able to use the property as his own, visiting whenever he wants, despite claiming to be effectively broke. 

Mr Wallace says he gave the vineyard to his brother to settle a €550,000 debt for building supplies.

But the fact that he did so at the very time he admits defrauding the Revenue will raise questions as to whether the transfer was an attempt to ensure the taxman (or other creditors) could not get their hands on it and sell it to pay off some of his companyâ€s huge debts.

This weekend, Mr Wallaceâ€s brother, Joseph, who is now the owner of the Italian winery, declined to answer questions about the deal. 
Among the questions facing the Wallace family are:
  • Why would Mick Wallace use a personal asset to pay a business debt? (Mr Wallace has insisted that he and his building firm are separate entities) 

  • If money was owed to Joseph Wallaceâ€s company, why did he take personal ownership of the vineyard? Should the vineyard have been handed over to the firm rather than Joseph?

  • What documents are there showing how the €550,000 debt was accrued?

  • Has the Revenue ever been in contact over the deal?
Deputy Wallace could not be contacted this weekend to answer questions about the deal. 

He was last seen at Terminal 2 of Dublin Airport on Friday, drinking a pint in the departure lounge bar.

It is thought he may be on his way to watch Irelandâ€s final Euro 2012 match against Italy – a country with which he has longstanding ties.
Despite his companyâ€s €2.1m debt to the Revenue, which he has said he will start paying from his salary at a rate of around €2,000 a month, Mr Wallace still owns an apartment in Turin, a short distance from the vineyard.

The MoS questioned Mr Wallace about the vineyard transfer in 2009 – before it was known that he had lied to the Revenue, withholding €1.4m in VAT.
At the time, Mr Wallace said he had sold the Italian villa and surrounding vineyard to Joseph after other creditors turned down a chance to bid for it. And he claimed the Revenue had approved the move. 

‘I no longer own it [the vineyard]. I had to sell it to a creditor, who happens to be my brother,†he said at the time. 

‘I owed him €550,000 and I sold him the vineyard. Itâ€s not something I wanted to do but he was going to get nothing for the €550,000 worth of material that I had got from him for construction work.â€

Mr Wallace had bought the four-acre vineyard and lovingly restored stone villa, which is close to the pretty Piedmont village of Cortemilia, in 2003 for around €70,000 before spending the same amount again on renovations.
It is unclear how his €550,000 debt to his brotherâ€s firm was entirely settled with the private transfer of a property seemingly worth a fraction of that.
The deal raises further questions, since Mr Wallace has acknowledged that he still uses the villa and travels there in his spare time.

A Wallace construction jeep with an Irish registration and the Wallace logo, ‘Lifeâ€s short, work hard, play hardâ€, is often parked outside the villa. Last year, the Wexford 

TD happily tweeted about going to his vineyard to tend the vines. 
‘I still go down there. But I donâ€t enjoy the fact that I had to sell it and I did offer it to other creditors who didnâ€t want it. They were holding out for the hope that theyâ€d get money and hopefully they will,†Mr Wallace told the MoS at the time. 
But now that Mr Wallace has acknowledged that he lied and deliberately committed tax fraud during 2008 and 2009, further questions are likely to be asked about the vineyard deal.

A substantial owner of the nationwide Homevalue hardware brand name, Joseph Wallace also runs a petrol station, SuperValu supermarket, a department store and an agricultural supply store in the familyâ€s home town of Wellingtonbridge, Co. Wexford.

Until 2004, he was also a director of Mick Wallaceâ€s main construction company, MJ Wallace Ltd, which was taken into receivership by ACC last year.
But the €550,000 debt and the associated Italian property deal does not appear to be specifically mentioned in any of the company accounts.

The accounts for Joseph Wallaceâ€s hardware holding company, Associated Hardware PLC, do mention that €1.2m in bad debts were incurred in 2009 – but it is unclear if any portion of this relates to the vineyard deal. 

In particular, itâ€s unclear how a company debt could be settled with a personal asset transfer – something that would be in apparent conflict with company law.
Revenue guidelines state that a company must keep records of all transactions in relation to written off bad debts. 

The questions posed by the MoS – and delivered to Joseph Wallace in Wellingtonbridge – were not answered.
‘I have to be careful what I say,†he said before asking for the written questions to be left for his attention at his SuperValu store.

The MoS also requested documentary evidence of the €550,000 debt. In the past, Mick Wallace has said the Revenue audit into his affairs had found no issue with the vineyard transfer – but this and other questions about his Revenue affairs will become clearer if he agrees to a request to make his Revenue affairs public.
The request was made this week by the Dáil Committee on Members†Interests, which wants to see if Mr Wallaceâ€s tax issues coincide with his time as a TD, before deciding if it can investigate. 

But, in the meantime, Mr Wallace is being urged to answer questions he did not directly address during his 10-minute Dáil speech on Thursday. 
Those questions include why he and his son, Sasha, doubled their company salaries to almost €300,000 in 2008, around the time the VAT fraud was being committed and when the firm was losing money.

Mr Wallace has also not yet made it clear whether he made his VAT admission to the Revenue only after he was informed of an impending audit in 2010.
And it still remains unclear what assets – in addition to his Dáil ­salary – he may still own and could sell to help repay his Revenue debt. 

For example, the MoS has previously revealed that Mr Wallace bought a Turin apartment in 2001 for an estimated €90,000.

The apartment is a few minutes from the Mole Antonella, the tallest brick structure in the world, and the Porta Palazzo open-air market.
The home is Mr Wallaceâ€s base for indulging in his passion for ­Italian football, which until ­financial woes hit, saw him retain season tickets for AC Milan, ­Juventus and Torino.

The VAT tax cheat Mick Wallace did not pay was taken largely from apartment sales he made to his family, friends and football associates – including Ireland international Kevin Doyle.
With the property market in freefall, the struggling developer fell back on close family and friends when his Behan Square development, close to Croke Park, did not sell as planned in 2008 and 2009.
Up to a dozen close relatives and football friends – including Ireland star Kevin Doyle – took out mortgages from an assortment of banks to purchase Mr Wallaceâ€s apartments.

But, unknown to them, Mr Wallaceâ€s company kept the VAT they paid and fraudulently declared false 
bi-monthly Revenue returns.

The only other party that appears to have been willing to purchase in Behan Square is Dublin City Council, which signed a deal in April 2008 for 10 units to be used in the Affordable Housing Scheme. 
Because of the collapse in property values, the scheme has been cancelled and the council has confirmed that it is stuck with six apartments, for which it paid just under €1m.
The loss to the taxpayer is compounded because Mr Wallace appears not to have passed on the VAT on those deals either.

In addition to the sales to Dublin City Council, the Property Registration Authority recorded details of a total of 13 sales at Behan Square in 2008 and 2009 – the period in which Mr Wallace has admitted he cheated on his VAT.
Despite a slick advertising brochure and ads in national newspaper property pages, most of those sales appear to have been  to close family and friends. 

With advertised prices starting at €395,000, purchases by assorted members of the Wallace family alone must have amounted to millions of euro

Starting weeks after the governmentâ€s emergency bank guarantee, in 2008 and 2009 some 10 family members, either individually or jointly, bought in the development.
Among them were Mr Wallaceâ€s sons Sasha, who bought in January 2009 with a First Active mortgage, and Fionn, who bought with a Bank of Scotland mortgage.

At the time, both were directors of Mr Wallaceâ€s company M&J Wallace – the firm liable for the unpaid VAT from those apartment sales.

Other family members who bought are listed as Mary Murphy Wallace, Joseph and Gwenda Wallace, Francis Wallace, Brendan and Mary Wallace. Christina Harpur – a sister of Mick Wallace – also bought an apartment with her daughter of the same name.

Others who came forward include associates from Mr Wallaceâ€s Wexford Youths football team – the most prominent being Kevin Doyle who bought in November 2008 with a mortgage from ACC Bank.
Mr Doyle began his career with Wexford Youths and Mr Wallace is not only a friend but has also acted as his manager and adviser.

A staff member working with the property firm managing the communal areas in Behan Square said: ‘I know Kevin. I have met him a few times. I never dealt with him about the apartment, only his mother and the letting agent. 

‘As such, it is not Kevin who is the landlord. He would have bought it, I assume, but any time the annual service charge [is due] or if there is a problem with the apartment, I contact his mother.â€
Mr Wallace did not respond this weekend to our questions about the apartment sales. Nor did other family members who could be contacted last night.
A resident at Behan Square, however, said he was surprised at Mr Wallaceâ€s actions.

Harding, who bought his two-bed apartment in 2008 for €225,000 under the councilâ€s Affordable Housing Scheme, said he bought because he admired Mr Wallaceâ€s reputation as a developer with a social conscience. ‘He is the best of a bad lot,†he said. 
‘Yes he has done a bad thing… and heâ€ll have to pay for that. People do desperate things when they try to keep their business going.â€

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Alan Kelly now believes we need to pay for our green bins!!

'Alan Kelly wanted to be treated like royalty'
Environment Minister launches verbal attack on radio host over Lowry interview

Environment Minister Alan Kelly launched a verbal attack on a radio presenter before taking part in a bizarre live interview, the Irish Independent can reveal.

The Labour Party deputy leader "stormed" into Newstalk's mobile studio in Thurles yesterday demanding to know why presenter Chris Donoghue had given a "prime-time slot" to his constituency rival independent TD Michael Lowry.

Witnesses have said Mr Kelly was irate and directly confronted the 'Newstalk Breakfast' host just minutes before taking part in an on-air debate with independent TD Mattie McGrath and Fianna Fail candidate Michael Smith Jnr.

Earlier, the show had aired a segment where Mr Donoghue interviewed Mr Lowry during a walkabout in Tipperary.

During the piece, Mr Lowry denied ever taking a corrupt payment. After the three-way debate started, Mr Kelly briefly complained on air that the former Fine Gael minister had been given his own slot.
There were also heated exchanges where he accused Mr McGrath of being a bully and a coward.

Mr Smith, who was present in the studio before Mr Kelly arrived, told the Irish Independent: "He [Kelly] came in and started saying it wasn't a level playing field and making accusations.

"The language that was used was not appropriate as public representatives who are representing the public."

Similarly Mr McGrath said: "I walked into a stand-up row between him and Chris Donoghue.

"Alan Kelly didn't like not being first on. He wanted to be treated like royalty."
He added: "I'm a long time going in and out of studios and I've never heard the likes of the insults that were traded with the presenter."
A spokesman for the minister last night described the incident as "a storm in a teacup".

"I categorically refute that bad language was used. There was an issue. Alan raised it with the presenter and we were happy with how it was dealt with," he said.
Mr Donoghue declined to comment on the incident.
During the live interview, Mr Kelly then traded a series of verbal blows with Mr McGrath.

More than once during the discussions, Mr Donoghue was forced to tell the election candidates to stop "shouting at each other, please".
At one point Mr McGrath alleged the minister had to hide in his van in order to escape angry anti-water protesters in Cashel.

"You weren't allowed to canvas in Cashel last Sunday ... You had to go into my van for cover…" he began before being cut short by the minister.
Mr McGrath later admitted to the Irish Independent that Mr Kelly was not present in his election van when a female protester started banging on the window in a bid to locate the Labour TD.

"He wasn't in my van, no. But a woman approached it and started banging on the window looking for Alan Kelly," he said.

"But if Alan 'Jelly' Kelly wants to ever come into my van, I'll put the refrigerator on. I've never seen a jelly bean like Alan Kelly," Mr McGrath said.
A spokesman for Mr Kelly said: "That only happened in the ice-cream van that plays the music in his head.

"He is making things up."
Irish Independent

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"Ming Flanagan tells Dail gardai were linked to heroin dealing
TD Luke Ming Flanagan claimed he had a dossier of evidence linking high ranking officers to heroin dealing

High-ranking police officers were involved in a ploy to coerce citizens into buying hard drugs to boost crime detection figures, the Dail has heard.
Independent TD Luke "Ming" Flanagan said a new whistleblower from within the Garda has come forward with a fresh dossier of alleged corruption linking the force to heroin dealing.

"We have a situation here where heroin dealing and the Garda Siochana are being connected," he said.

In the Dail, Mr Flanagan said Garda Nicky Keogh - based at Athlone Garda station - has handed the evidence over to retired judge Patrick McMahon, an interim watchdog charged with overseeing whistleblower allegations.

Education Minister Ruairi Quinn said everybody shared the concerns raised by the latest claims, which come amid a wave of controversies that have rocked the force, resulting in the resignations of the Garda chief and the Justice Minister.

Mr Flanagan, who represents Roscommon-South Leitrim, said the fresh dossier includes serious allegations of a Garda cover-up, stolen files, manufactured evidence and the failure of officers to fully comply with court orders to hand over records.

The Independent politician singled out one particular case for mention.
"[The whistleblower's] greatest concern with the drugs operation in November 2009 is that there was a systematic and orchestrated effort by high ranking Garda officers to induce and coerce Irish citizens - in this case with no previous criminal convictions - to buy drugs from drug dealers and in doing do, putting them in personal danger and in turn to sell drugs to undercover gardai without making any profit, thus boosting crime detection figures for arrest," he said.

Mr Flanagan said among allegations handed over by the serving Garda officer was a claim his colleague threatened a defendant to plead guilty on the day of his hearing.
"A further grave aspect, of grave concern, in relation to the planning of this operation was that the list of nominated persons to be targeted had a notable omission in that a significant and well-recognised drug dealer in the area who has been seen long associated with a senior member of the drugs unit was excluded," he added.

Appealing for whistleblower protection, Mr Flanagan said the mostly young citizens targeted in the alleged operation now have serious drugs convictions.
"Nicky Keogh is a hero," he told the Dail.

"I wish I knew more heroes like him. There are plenty of them in the Garda Siochana, he's done them proud today and I hope they shake his hand rather than tie a knot in a rat's tail and put it on his door."

Representing the Taoiseach Enda Kenny during Leaders Questions, Mr Quinn said a Garda Authority, based on the Northern Ireland model, was being established along with a whistleblowers' charter as part of a raft of reforms for the force.

"We will move to have those things put in place so the kind of thing you are describing today will no longer be necessary," he said.
Press Association"
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The One Trick Pony Murray. 

"Paul Murphy: Itâ€s quite shocking gardaí are ‘spying†on water protesters
ANTI-AUSTERITY ALLIANCE TDs have written to Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald in relation to claims gardaí have been spying on anti-water charge protesters.

Earlier today, the Irish Daily Mail claimed a team led by Detective Superintendent Jim McGowan, husband of Garda Commissioner Nóirín Oâ€Sullivan, has spent six months compiling profiles on protesters, including TD Paul Murphy, and their whereabouts.
The paper reports that the group is operating under the name Operation Mizen and says gardaí plan to extend the Dublin-based unit nationwide.

AAA TDs Murphy, Joe Higgins and Ruth Coppinger have written a letter to Fitzgerald, calling on her to make an immediate public statement on the issue.
The letter describes the content of the article as “quite shocking”.

“This is a most serious development and raises fundamental questions as to the interference of the Garda in the political life of the State.”

The correspondence also puts a number of questions to the minister, namely:
Were you aware that this Garda Unit was in operation? Were you consulted about its foundation or operation? Did you have any report made to you or to your Department by the Garda Commissioner or any authorities in the Garda on the operation of this Unit?
How many individuals are the subject of this surveillance? Are public representatives at Council or Dáil level the subject of this surveillance? If so will you name them?
Have the telephones or other communications of anti water charges campaign activists been intercepted and if so have public representatives been among those who were the subject of such interceptions? What other forms of surveillance have been used?
A spokesperson for the Department of Justice confirmed Fitzgerald has received the letter and said it “will be responded to in due course”.
The operational arrangements for the Gardaí in fulfilling its functions – which include preserving peace and public order, protecting life and property, preventing crime and vindicating the human rights of each individual – are a matter for An Garda Síochána, subject to the law.

“It is open to any person who has a complaint against An Garda Síochána to pursue it with the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission.”

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