Mick Wallace, a native of Wellingtonbridge county Wexford, has lived many lives: A builder, a neutrality campaigner, a non-conformist, a wine producer, a wine bar owner, a football coach and manager, an advocate for whistleblowers, and a politician.
At 17, he spent a five-month stint in Central and South America hitch-hiking- where he saw the impact of US Imperialism first-hand- something which sparked a lifelong interest in politics and how society is organised.
The real love of Mick’s life is football, Italian football in particular. He prides himself on having only missed one World Cup or European Championship since 1982 and has become well known in Italia as a supporter of Torino Calico. He has coached and managed football in Ireland at senior level in the League of Ireland First Division and coached under 18s for an unbroken 37 years – winning four All Irelands with the Wexford League under-18 county teams and two club All Irelands with his beloved Wexford Youths, which he formed in 2006. Winning these six under-18 All Irelands is the proudest thing he has done in his life.
Mick spent much of his life working in construction. He formed his own company, employing hundreds of workers, and building apartments, offices, restaurants, underground car parks and carrying out civil engineering works for Dublin City Council – a business that, like many others, eventually fell apart in 2012, following the 2008 banking crisis.
In the Dáil…
In 2011, while a guest on ‘Tonight with Vincent Browne’, Mick made the surprise announcement that he intended to stand for the general election a few weeks later. He topped the polls in his local Wexford constituency with a staggering 13,329 first preference votes.
In the Dáil Mick worked on a wide variety of issues – from opposing the Household Change and water charges to supporting abortion and gay marriage rights. He worked for over five years investigating malpractice and corruption in NAMA (National Asset Management Agency) – Ireland’s “bad bank” which was set up to deal with stressed assets in Irish banks. Through this work, he exposed how US vulture fund Cerberus Capital paid a fixers fee of £15 million to purchase the Northern Ireland property portfolio known as Project Eagle- this was to lead to investigations in the US, Britain and Ireland. It would also lead to Mick Wallace’s bankruptcy as Cerberus managed to have him declared bankrupt in the Irish Courts in 2016, following the acquisition of an old banking loan of his, which had fallen into arrears.
Mick teamed up with fellow TD Clare Daly and together they worked on many issues, including malpractice in Irish policing, publishing new legislation to reform the policy force. They focused on the housing crisis in Ireland, introducing legislation to tackle landbanking. They also investigated the scandal surrounding the National Children’s Hospital, exposing how the selection of an unsuitable contract led to the job costing hundreds of millions more than it should.
For years, they have campaigned for the release of Julian Assange. They first visited him in 2013 in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London and attended his UK trials. Assange has spent over 10 years in captivity for telling the truth, exposing US and NATO war crimes.
They have also campaigned tirelessly for Irish neutrality, highlighting the US military use of Shannon. They were arrested for scaling the fence at Shannon airport, attempting to search a US Military plane for arms, and were put on trial the following year at Ennis District Court. They have published a book, Coalition of the Unwilling (insert link), which deals with the court case and the issues surrounding it.
In the European Parliament
In 2019, Mick decided to stand for election for the European Parliament. This time he stood in Ireland South, a twelve-county constituency, comprising a geographic area of half of the Republic of Ireland. He canvassed for a month with his friend and colleague Seanie O’Shea, just the two of them – and surprised a few by easily winning election, thanks to the unforgettable support of the people of Ireland South.
Read about Mick’s work in the European Parliament .