‘That’s Totally Disingenuous’


MEP candidates for Ireland South, RTÉ’s Miriam O’Callaghan and Independents 4 Change TD Mick Wallace on Prime Time debate last night

Last night.

RTÉ One’s Prime Time broadcast the first of its three European election debates.

Last night’s concerned the Ireland South constituency with nine of the 23 candidates taking part – including Wexford Independents 4 Change TD Mick Wallace.

During the debate, journalist Miriam O’Callaghan had the following exchange with Mr Wallace about his financial affairs.

Miriam O’Callaghan: “Mick Wallace, you portray yourself always as very much a man of the people.

“But, in fact, you’ve had tens of millions of euro debts wiped out. You’ve been fined for not paying your construction workers pension contributions on time.

“You knowingly made false declarations on VAT. I mean, are you the sort of person that the voters of Ireland South should send to Europe to represent them?”

Mick Wallace: “Well first of all. Your presentation of the pension thing is a bit inaccurate.”

O’Callaghan: “How?”

Wallace: “Well. There was a dispute with the pension board at the time. We paid all our pensions, every bit of it. And we actually paid more…”

O’Callaghan: “You were fined, I think, €7,000…”

Wallace: “We were fined because we had a row with the pension board because they made us pay for six workers that went back to Eastern Europe six months earlier and they thought we should pay for them after we had released them from their work.

“And that was the only reason that we were in the court despite the fact that the media presented it very differently.”

O’Callaghan: “OK, but the general point, I’m making in terms, I suppose, about tens of millions of euro being wiped out and the VAT issue.”

Wallace: “Well, first of all, with regard to the VAT issue, which has happened over ten years ago, and I’d say it’s probably the most discussed VAT issue in the history of the planet but we owed €1.4million in VAT, we didn’t get it because the money for the sale of the apartments went to the solicitor, who was obliged to give it to the bank.

“And normally the bank will give it to you to give to the Revenue. They wouldn’t give it to us because all the apartments weren’t sold.

“We actually never got it into our hands to give it to the Revenue.

“On the other issue, you’re talking about tens of millions being wiped out, right?”

O’Callaghan: “But did you knowingly make a false declaration on VAT?”

Wallace: “Yes, we did, yeah. And listen, and my biggest crime at the time was being straight about it, right, because we wanted to try, we were employing, at one stage, over 200 people.

“We wanted to keep the business going. And the idea that one would not pay their full VAT, on a particular date and pay it later, is not unusual in business.”

O’Callaghan: “OK, what about Cerberus? I mean you spent a lot of time giving out about it in the Dáil. But you rarely have ever said, and in fact you owe them millions.”

Wallace: “Who? Cerberus?”

O’Callaghan: “Yeah.”

Wallace: “I don’t owe Cerberus anything.”


O’Callaghan: “Didn’t…I thought they made you bankrupt?”

Wallace: “They did yeah but I don’t owe them anything. I don’t owe Cerberus anything. Cerberus, listen, let me be clear. Let me clarify it right.

“I was dealing with four banks – three of which were foreign, right? So I didn’t go into Nama. And when you talk about tens of millions of debt right…”

O’Callaghan: “But Mick you know, they made you bankrupt on the basis that you owed them two million.”

Wallace: “Two million? I didn’t even owe it to them. Right. There was a security of €2million put on a building in Inchicore which had absolutely nothing to do with them. They actually went into court and told three lies on an affidavit and unfortunately the judge was obliged to believe them.”

O’Callaghan: “OK but I suppose Mick we can’t be saying that people told lies. They’re not here…”

Wallace: “I can say, I can say it very clearly. And the only reason that Cerberus bankrupted me was because of the fact that I exposed the fact that they paid a €15million bribe to get Project Eagle.”

O’Callaghan: “But I suppose it was [former Fine Gael Finance Minister] Michael Noonan’s point that maybe you had a feud with them but that you didn’t enough come clean on admitting your relationship with them. It’s about transparency.”

Wallace: “I had no relations with Cerberus. And when Cerberus, when I raised the issue about Cerberus, right? Cerberus had nothing to do with my business. They bought one property from Ulster Bank which happened, I had, believe it or not, I had 39 properties with Ulster Bank and Ulster Bank asked me to work with them to sell them and one fell through the net and they didn’t sell it.

“And they threw it into Promontoria Ireland which Cerberus bought. That has nothing, that was after…”

O’Callaghan: “I suppose it was a simple point Michael Noonan, former minister for finance made, which was that maybe you should have declared your interest in relation to Cerberus…”

Wallace: “I didn’t have an interest with them then. Cerberus didn’t come on the scene until later.”


Wallace: “That’s totally disingenuous.”

O’Callaghan: “Well then the minister is wrong?”

Wallace: “A hundred per cent. And that wasn’t the only thing he was wrong on.”

Watch back in full here

Ireland South candidates take part in TV debate (RTE)

Previously: Project Eagle And The €3.5 Billion Haircut (Broadsheet, July 2, 2015)

‘I Can’t For The Life Of Me Understand Why No One Gives A Bollox’ (Broadsheet, November 7, 2018)

Related: Mick Wallace’s bankruptcy latest chapter in Cerberus feud (The Irish Times, December 2016)

Noonan challenges Mick Wallace to ‘declare interest’ on Cerberus (The Irish Times, February 28, 2017)


68 thoughts on “‘That’s Totally Disingenuous’

    1. GiggidyGoo

      Really? My reading of the above exchange is that O’Callaghan rolled out the FFG list of untruths that was given to her, and quickly got her ass handed back to her.

      Callaghan is a stooge

      1. Tom

        “O’Callaghan: “But did you knowingly make a false declaration on VAT?”

        Wallace: “Yes, we did, yeah. ”

        That is not a successful interview.

        1. Anomanomanom

          But this is not news Tom. Typical FG bollox, get your ass handed to you but try flip into a positive.

        2. GiggidyGoo

          Wasn’t there one of your FG buddies(a Minister now at that) involved in an illegal loan from her struggling company? And she’s still a Minister.
          Didn’t a former FG Taoiseach have his debts written off by one of the banks? Poor fellow.
          And didn’t Noonan protect more buddies by limiting the enquiry into Anglo to amounts in excess of €10m
          Tsk tsk

          1. eoin

            Did Mick Wallace attempt to pay back some (a small part, albeit) of the VAT bill that was levied on his company, by cutting his Dail salary in half and paying the rest to the Revenue?

            Did Regina Doherty do anything like that to repay the creditors, including the Revenue Commissioners, at her collapsed company? Did she fupp. I seem to recall that, separately, when it emerged she was being personally paid an unlawful allowance in the Dail, she said she’d repay it over a couple of years from her €160,000-odd salary.

            Different strokes for different folks, I suppose.

    1. Rob_G

      Unfortunately for Wallace, he isn’t running against Michael Noonan, then; however he is running against several candidates who haven’t (to my knowledge) made a false declaration in their VAT returns :/

      1. Anomanomanom

        And what has any of that got to do with how well he’s doing his job now, which is better than all those idiots.

        1. Rob_G

          If a former property developer who had fiddled his/her tax returns was running for FG or FF, would you think that their past activities were completely irrelevant then?

          1. Anomanomanom

            If it was under the exact same circumstances and it was fully dealt with in all legal ways available and they subsequently went how to be as good a td as Mick then I’d have no problem with it.

      2. Toe Up

        How many of those candidates have helped to unearth systemic corruption in the Gardai and extremely questionable behaviour in Nama in the meantime? It certainly wasn’t any FFG candidates, that’s for sure.

        1. Rob_G

          If a politician has done some actions we consider to be good, should we no longer question them about dodgy financial dealings?

          1. Toe Up

            I think so, especially if those dealings occurred in the distant past and have been discussed ad nauseam.

            If a politician doesn’t have dodgy financial dealings (that we are aware of) but they don’t truly represent the interests of their constituents, does that make them more effective as an elected representative?

          2. Anomanomanom

            Not close to the same thing. It’s like saying punching some one is the same as beating them to with in an inch of their life with a baseball. While both assault, im sure most people understand one is far more serious.

          3. Toe Up

            Speaking of disingenuous! Bertie and Regina’s misdeeds occurred while they were both in office, so I think that there’s a different level of scrutiny required for those particular individuals.

  1. eoin

    Jebus, just watched that, it’s over 4 minutes of a 52-minute debate which involved nine candidates. And that was just the opening question to one candidate before the debate proper started. Did Miriam not realise in her head when she was thinking about what question will I ask Mick, was five topics (VAT, pensions, bankruptcy, transparency, debt write off) not a little much because he will stand up and defend himself.

    Could she have gotten her point across by limiting her question to one of the five topics?

    It’s hard not to interpret that as an attempted hatchet job on a candidate who has middling chances of success on Friday.

    1. Dr.Fart MD

      exactly. she should have enough experience to know this, but she was obviously told to wipe out this lefty anti-FFFGer with the info provided to her. And when it wasn’t working she had to continue with her ques. She had nothing else, and couldnt leave it. She’s a total stooge, but her worst hatchet job was her dispicable interview of Yanis Varoufakis, sent to destory the anti EU poster boy, he handled her questions perfectly, and she was absolutely offensive and dissmissive, actual vitriol in her voice. She’s an absolute shill. pathetic that she still does that this late in her career, she could refuse it and not lose work if thats what shes afraid of.

      1. Not Pancho

        I’m not a cheerleader for Miriam O’Callaghan but her job, and that of any other journalist, is to ask the questions that people want asked, or that people believe should be asked. To suggest that a journalist is a ‘stooge’ because they sometimes represent the contrarian view is quite juvenile really, in my view. Mick Wallace is well able for this stuff and he almost certainly expects it. And as we’ve seen, he survives it.

    2. Jack ascinine

      She’s an insufferable bitch. They should have learned from previous debates that she’s a flop. And for Broadsheet to call her a journalist is a bit of a stretch too. She’s a bloody presenter. Not a journalist.

  2. Owen C

    Wallace: “I don’t owe Cerberus anything.”
    “They did yeah but I don’t owe them anything”
    “Two million? I didn’t even owe it to them.”

    Mick owed the money to Ulster Bank (by way of a personal guarantee that was subsequently called in). Cerberus bought the loan from Ulster. Mick then owed the money to Cerberus. This isn’t complex. Yes, the Cerberus action was almost entirely used to put pressure on him, but that’s the problem when you owe a ton of money and used personal guarantees to support the borrowing.

    “my biggest crime at the time was being straight about it”

    I think his biggest crime was actually not paying the VAT.

    1. b

      not true Owen, his biggest crimes remains those against fashion

      VAT shenanigans coming a close second

    2. Joe Small

      I wouldn’t be surprised it Mick Wallace has opened himself up to libel there. He’s a brass neck if nothing else.

      1. johnny

        The sheer ignorance and stupidity of supposedly financial literate people on here is stagerring-how the foop do you think houses/apt’s -yeah the things people live in-get built ?
        Smarties,buttons or monopoly money-its one the most capital intense industries,involving staggering amounts of leverage, developers often have put it all on the line or most of it via PG’s.
        But sitting on your fat bottom area ‘analyzing’ what others do is so much better,you sound like a ignorant oul one after mass Owen,giving out about the builders.The problem when you sit around all day analyzing others work is you become bitter and shrill….

        Crimes-yeah here’s Danske laundering hundreds billions for Russians,they were very active in Ireland.


        1. Rob_G

          johnny, friend of the common man, standing up for the real victims – millionaire developers who defraud the revenue…

          1. Johnny

            -oh Rob-there’s 10 billion in a escrow account that this govt has wasted over 10 million in legal fees fighting NOT to get-
            You have numerous on going court cases involving dodgy loans and minister madigan-walked Mick’s dev near Croke Park they actually really well built nice apartments.
            He’s an x teacher,who picked up a hammer made few bob and became a “developer/builder”.
            Different league, I would not have lot time or interact much with “characters” like him,but the above statement about owing money is simply ridiculous,it’s idiotic and ill informed-he was a spec small time builder,course he owned money when the music stopped – duh !
            When your a two bit financial analyst and you troll one Ireland’s leading investigative journalists so hard she blocks you,you’ve lost the plot.

          2. Rob_G

            I don’t know what any of that has to do with Mick Wallace’s decision to defraud revenue…

          3. eoin

            Hi Johnny, Miriam provides her services to RTE through a company, Baby Blue Productions Limited. She gets a basic €300,000 for her services. That will exclude extras like a clothing or make-up allowance. She is notorious for doing a large number of paid appearances outside RTE which would also be on top. The accounts for Baby Blue are abbreviated so you can’t really see the total gross income.

  3. Vanessa the Holy Face of Frilly Keane

    Toss it around all ye like
    The moment he
    Or anyone
    Is adjudicated a Bankrupt
    They don’t owe anyone a cent

    The only debts that are not expunged in Bankruptcy are fines awarded by court
    Like maintenance orders or awards of compo
    Like of you gave a fella a dig and he got a Judge to award him ten grand

    So Mick couldn’t possibly have owed Cerberus a cent

    1. Cian

      If I’m reading this correctly,

      – “Early” 2015: Cerberus bought his €2 million debt (along with hundreds of others) from Ulster Bank in early 2015.
      – July 2015: Mick Wallace raised concerns about Nama.
      – December 2016: Wallace was declared bankrupt in .

      So for 18-ish months Wallace owed Cerberus €2million.

      1. Cian

        …and it was in February 2017 that Noonan challenged Mick Wallace to ‘declare interest’ on Cerberus.

      2. Vanessa the Holy Face of Frilly Keane

        Since whatever Monday it was in December 2016
        Mick Wallace hasn’t owed Cerberus a penny

        I’m not of aware of any issues with his Bankruptcy dealings with the Official Assignee
        So I’m going to say he was discharged
        Save for a continuing Payment Order
        On the 1 year anniversary of his Bankruptcy
        And on that day his official title went from

        Mick Wallace a Bankrupt to
        Discharged Bankrupt or Former Bankrupt Mick Wallace

        So technically and legally
        Anyone saying he owes Cerberus money
        Unless of course it came about from activity AFTER that December Monday in 2016
        Is incorrect

        1. Cian

          if you read your own comment is says “So Mick couldn’t possibly have owed Cerberus a cent”


          past tense.

          Between early 2015 and late 2016 Wallace owed Cerberus millions.

          1. Vanessa the Holy Face of Frilly Keane

            This is a direct cut an paste from above
            O’Callaghan: “OK, what about Cerberus? I mean you spent a lot of time giving out about it in the Dáil. But you rarely have ever said, and in fact you owe them millions.”

            Wallace: “Who? Cerberus?”

            O’Callaghan: “Yeah.”

            Wallace: “I don’t owe Cerberus anything.

            And he is absolutely right
            His debt was expunged and the responsibility of the Official Assignee of the High Court in Bankruptcy
            The OA for short
            The very moment (probably Judge Caroline Costello) adjudicated him a Bankrupt

            And as previously noted
            I am not aware of any issues regarding his Bankruptcy Estate and his dealings with the OA
            So save for the statutory Payment Order
            If it applied to his income after allowable set costs
            He is discharged from Bankruptcy

            unless this is a transcript of an exchange pre December 2016
            When he did have a debt to Cerberus

            But he hasn’t had a debt to Cerberus since December 2016

            We can expect RTÉ to issue a clarification and an apology on this

            And it won’t be just Mick extracting one out’ve them either
            It’s important that both the Examiners Office in the HC and the OAs in the Insolvency Service have this corrected
            Because this is the sort of misinformation that causes extreme angst from former Bankrupts who just want to get the fresh start Bankruptcy promises

          2. Cian

            Jezzuz Frilly, it was YOU that wrote “owed” not from above.

            and just now you forgot to add to your copy and paste
            “O’Callaghan: “But Mick you know, they made you bankrupt on the basis that you owed them two million.”

            Both “owe” and “owed” were mentioned on TV.
            *you* said “So Mick couldn’t possibly have owed Cerberus a cent”

          3. kellMA

            Ah Cian…..come on. I admire your attention to detail but here it seems to be just for the sake of it

          4. Vanessa the Holy Face of Frilly Keane

            Ah bless ya Cian

            You’re such a good puppy doggy
            I applied ‘ Owed’
            Because the debate was last night
            Not November 2016

            Last night Mick ‘ Owed’ Cerberus SFA
            Not even the piece of a stamp

            Poor research by RTE primetime staffers

            And her brother a regular face in the Chancery/ Bankruptcy / Civil repossessions scene n’all

          5. Cian


            Today, Mick owes Cerberus nothing[1].
            Last night, Mick owed Cerberus nothing.
            Saturday, Mick owed Cerberus nothing.
            Between early 2015 and late 2016 Wallace owed Cerberus over €2million.

            [1] to the best of our knowledge.

          6. Vanessa the Holy Face of Frilly Keane


            Yes. Cian. From that Monday in December 2016 Mick Wallace didn’t owe Cerberus a cent

            That’s why the petitioned to have him adjudicated a Bankrupt

            So Miriam will have to clarify

  4. phil

    I wonder would it be useful to compare Micks experience as a Property Developer in the period after 2008 to say one of FF/Gs Developers …

  5. Ian-O

    Miriam is not a real journalist. She’s a FF propagandist and from watching the above exchange, not a very competent one either.

  6. Rob_G

    Gas all of the posters here criticising O’Callaghan for asking Wallace about his tax shenanigans. If it had have been a candidate from either FG or FF, and M’OC failed to question them about some past malfeasance, I’m sure there would be an outcry (and rightly so).

    1. Kolmo

      I’m reading the Tom Gilmartin book by Frank Connolly, I wouldn’t put anything past these FF/FG gangsters..their tentacles reach far.

    2. Arriba

      I don’t see any poster here criticising O’Callaghan for questioning him. Questioning Wallace re his tax affairs isn’t the problem. The problem is, O’Callaghan didn’t have her facts straight regarding the issue, and Wallace handed her ass back to her on a plate.
      Questioning is one thing. Attempting a hatchet job on an election candidate courtesy of a list of false statements/questions handed to her by FG HQ is quite another, as Ms. O’Callaghan will no doubt realise rather quickly given the strong possibility that she’ll be hearing from Wallace’s legal representatives.

      1. Rob_G

        “I don’t see any poster here criticising O’Callaghan for questioning him.”

        Several posters seem to be suggesting that…

        “The problem is, O’Callaghan didn’t have her facts straight regarding the issue,”
        Some of the exchanges above suggest that this is a matter for debate

        “Ms. O’Callaghan will no doubt realise rather quickly given the strong possibility that she’ll be hearing from Wallace’s legal representatives… “
        Most presenters will be fairly well-briefed when going to tackle a topic that could see their broadcaster sued for libel. If he does indeed sue or get RTÉ to issue a retraction of anything that M O’C said, I would revise my opinion and agree with you.

  7. Billy

    what came across in abundance last night was the very poor quality of candidate.
    all of them.
    and Callaghan should show her disrespect and her sharp teeth to ministers when she gets a chance.

    tellingly when roasting Wallace (perhaps libellously) she claimed with incredulity that Micheal Noonan could have been wrong. as if the finance minister could be in some way infallible.
    Wallace replied “it wouldn’t be the only thing he was wrong about”.

    you couldn’t make it up

    1. Axelf

      Exactly. Can anyone remember Noonan getting any sort of grillining from RTE over his misdeeds such the nama shenanigans, grace and Brigid mcvole?

  8. Hector Ramirez

    Funniest part of this is, in reply to a further MO’C question Wallace gives an answer and Miriam gave the ‘that’s history’ answer.. clueless

    Not usually one to shout bias and Mick Wallace isn’t on my regular ballot, but it seemed she was trying to nibble him and then give handy questions to all the others.

    1. Rob_G

      He would be the only candidate that has a national profile, apart from Liadh Ni Riada.

      But Wallace is a much more famous, and colourful character, they probably reckoned that baiting him would make for the best television.

  9. eoin

    Isn’t it ironic that Miriam O’Callaghan of all people spent nearly 4.5 minutes of a 52-minute debate on an opening question to one candidate. Miriam is keen on transparency, so, in the interests of transparency, Miriam was in pole position last year to become the Fianna Fail presidential candidate, according to a report in the Sunday Independent. She is also the sister of the FF justice spokesperson Jim O’Callaghan.

    In the Ireland South MEP constituency, there are five seats up for grabs this Friday. Guess who is at #5 and #6 according to the Paddy Power odds of being elected? #5 is Mick Wallace and #6 is Malcolm Byrne (FF).

    To some people, this might look like a FF apparatchik doing a hatchet job on the candidate standing in the way of a FF candidate winning. Not a good look at all for RTE.

    1. Vanessa the Holy Face of Frilly Keane

      There’ll be a bit more space between Mick Wallace and Malcolm Byrne than that

      I’d even say Ballyhea say Diarmuid might out-poll Malcolm

      Head on block time
      Kelly Kelleher O’Riada
      Clune Wallace or Wallace Clune

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