Tax charge against TD adjourned

THE Director of Public Prosecutions yesterday agreed to adjourn a tax charge against a Limerick TD until after he retires from the Dáil.

Michael Collins, who lost the Fianna Fáil whip after charges emerged, is not seeking re-election.

At Limerick Circuit Court yesterday, counsel for the DPP consented to an adjournment of a charge, relating to a tax offence, until July 24. The defence counsel, seeking an adjournment, made a reference to the “particular stage of the electoral cycle” in the country.

Collins, 65, of White Oak, Red House Hill, Patrickswell, Co Limerick, faces a charge alleging that he obtained, on an unknown date in May of 2002, a tax clearance certificate by false pretences.

At Rathkeale District Court last September, a second charge alleging he cheated the Office of the Collector General by applying for a tax clearance certificate, at a time when he had undeclared tax liabilities, was withdrawn on the instructions of the DPP.

Defence counsel Paul Greene, BL, yesterday made an application to adjourn the case until the end of July.

Judge Carroll Moran commented that the adjournment date “was a very long time away”.

Mr Greene said there were a number of reasons for the lengthy adjournment and they included the sensitivity of the case.

The barrister said he was very anxious the case be treated in as dispassionate a manner as possible.

His client, he said, was a member of the Oireachtas and they were at “a particular stage in the electoral cycle”.

Mr Greene said there were also a number of personal reasons he wanted the case put back to July, but did not want to go into these.

Judge Moran said that if the prosecution was willing to consent, it was not for him as a judge to interfere.

The book of evidence had been served on Collins on August 8 last.

Collins lost the Fianna Fáil whip in the Dáil when the allegations emerged. But he has continued to support the party in Dáil votes.

Collins has announced that he will not be contesting the upcoming general election.

His nephew Cllr Niall Collins was nominated by Fianna Fáil to stand in Limerick West, along with outgoing TD John Cregan.

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