'inaccurate' | 

Mick Wallace says he does not own three wine bars in Dublin

“I give the lads advice and stuff and I’ve contacts with wine producers in Italy, I’ve kept my link with the bar, but I don’t own any of it,” he said.

Mick Wallace

Seoirse MulgrewIndependent.ie

Mick Wallace has said he does not own three wine bars in Dublin and has no shareholding in the company.

The MEP said he lost the lease for the buildings following his bankruptcy in 2016.

In a TikTok uploaded by right-wing Italian MEP Alessandro Panza earlier this month, Mr Wallace hinted that he has an active role in managing the business.

“I have three wine bars in Dublin, and I sell only Italian wine and I import all the produce from Italy,” Mr Wallace said in a TikTok video that appears to have been posted around February 1.

The video was filmed at an event in the European Parliament in Brussels.

Accounts filed with the Companies Registration Office show Mr Wallace is neither a shareholder nor a director in the holding company behind his original wine business – Wallace Calcio.

Speaking to Morning Mix with Alan Corcoran on South East Radio, Mr Wallace said the chain of wine bars are now owned by different investors.

“I built my first wine bar in 2003, and Wallace Calcio was the name of the company that managed the wine bars. They were doing very well, it was a decent business but obviously all the value was in the buildings,” he said.

“They were in great locations but obviously I lost the buildings, Wallace Calcio, which I owned it, I lost the buildings after the banking crashes so all I was left with then was the lease.

“I had the lease then, I was made bankrupt it was 2016 I think, it wasn’t possible for me to be a shareholder then, so I lost my shareholding then.”

When asked if he was ever a director of the company, Mr Wallace said: “Oh yeah, I was disqualified from being a director I think in 2017.”

“I stopped owning the bars shortly after the banking crisis, that’s over 10 years ago but I still had the lease until I was made bankrupt, so I think it was around 2016.

“There are different people there, they’re all friends of mine that have it but the actual shares themselves have very little value if any.”

Mr Wallace said he has kept a “link” with the bar and offers advice for a “small sum”.

“I give the lads advice and stuff and I’ve contacts with wine producers in Italy, I’ve kept my link with the bar, but I don’t own any of it,” he said.

“In August 2019, just after I got elected to Europe, they started giving me a small sum for the little bit of work I was doing on it but literally over the last three and a half years, it has amounted to an average of €53 a week before tax and I pay 40pc tax on it.

“For the media to going into a tailspin over this is a bit strange.

“Wallace Calcio are the license holders, it’s the license holder of three wine bars, they just have a license to run the bars, they don’t own them.

When asked who owns them, he said: “To tell you the truth, I don’t know who owns them because the banks sold them to investors, so the three bars are owned by different investors and on my heart, I don’t know their names and I actually haven’t met any of them.”

In relation to the TikTok video, Mr Wallace said it was “inaccurate” for him to say that he owned the wine bars.

“It was made in the European Parliament about two weeks ago I think, I was at a tasting night in the Parliament, and they asked me would I go, and I went and then the girl came along, and she made the video,” he said.

“I saw her doing it and then they obviously put it up and then the media picked up on it and I said in the video that I owned the bars in Dublin, I don’t own the bars in Dublin.

“I built them, and I put my heart and soul into them, and they’re owned by investors now, but I don’t own them, and I don’t have any shareholding in the lease.

“It’s inaccurate for me to say that I own three wine bars because I don’t.”

Mr Wallace has since amended his declaration of financial interests in the European Parliament to describe himself as an “adviser” to a chain of wine bars.

The MEP now says that he earns up to €5,988 a year in the role which he added to his parliament records on February 14.

“That’s a mistake on my part, and I shouldn’t make a mistake like that. I should be more careful and there’s no doubt about it, but public representatives should adhere to the requirements, and I didn’t do that,” he said.

“But the minute I found out that it was an oversight of mine, I rectified it there last week, as soon as I found out that I wasn’t compliant with the rules I dealt with it.

“Everything in relation to my financial affairs is up to date and correct on the Dáil record.”

Mr Wallace said he is a public representative and has to “take what comes”.

“This is how the media operate, they focus on this kind of thing and if you’re in the public life, obviously as I’ve made the point, I wish to God they would put more energy into real journalism,” he said.

The interview on South East Radio airs at 10.15am tomorrow morning.

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