I have often described politicians, businessmen and even ordinary citizens as living in a parallel universe when it comes to the reality of how things are done in Ireland.
But the manner in which the media has reported Mick Wallace’s admission that he hired a hitman to recover owed money is beginning to make me suspect that perhaps it’s me that’s living in a parallel universe
Here are some examples of how Wallace’s claim has been reported (my emphasis).
He had once spoken to a hitman who described how he could threaten a contractor with a gun in order to recoup money owed to him.
He once threatened to hire a hitman.
He made it clear that he did not actually hire a hitman.
Ok, I need to do a forensic examination of exactly what Wallace told Marian Finucane to see if I’m missing something that’s obvious to everybody else.
Fact one: Marian Finucane brought up the matter of how Wallace dealt with money he was once owed by a building contractor.
She described Wallace as having dealt with the matter in a very particular kind of way.
Fact two: Wallace did not dispute Finucane’s description but launched immediately into the story.
Fact three: Wallace stated he was owed €170,000 but only received €150,000 from the building contractor.
Fact four: Wallace made it clear he was unhappy with being refused the money he was owed.
Fact five: Wallace stated he tried to retrieve the money he was owed through his solicitor but strongly suggested that this option was a dead end.
Fact six: Wallace stated he met a debt collector the very next night in a pub (the night after talking to his solicitor, presumably).
Fact seven: Wallace recounted his conversation with the debt collector as follows:
I said, there’s a guy who owes me money, a contractor right. I’ve never met the owner but I’m dealing with a contracts manager, all my dealings have been with him.
If I said to you; go get my money, how would you do it?
Well, he said; I just need his name and the company he works for and I’d find out the rest and I’d go out to his house at eight or nine at night when he’s at home. I’d knock on the door, I’d put my foot in the door and I’d have a gun with me and I’d give him seven days to pay and generally they pay.
And I said, well, I’m owed €20,000. What would it cost me?
He said; four. You get sixteen and I get four.
I said right, ok. Let me think about it.
Fact eight: Wallace recounted how he arranged to meet a guy for a pint who used to work for him but now worked for the contracts manager involved in the matter.
Wallace recounted the following exchange between himself and the man he invited for a pint.
By the way, I’m going to get that money from the contractor.
Are you serious?
I am, yeah.
That’s great, how did you do it?
I haven’t got it yet but I’m going to get it. This guy has guaranteed me I’m going to get it.
How did you do it?
Well, I hired a hitman and I explained to him (the man he was having a pint with) how he (the hitman) is going to get the money.
I don’t believe you Wallace; I don’t believe you; that’s incredible.
What can I do, I need the money, they owe it to me; he will pay so there won’t be any trouble.
Fact nine: Wallace stated that two days later he received a phone call from the owner of the company that owed him money and he agreed to accept €16,000 from the company.
Fact ten: Wallace ended his account of this matter with the following sentence.
But to be honest, no, I wouldn’t have sent a gunman to his door, no.
Here’s my understanding of Wallace’s claims.
He was refused money he was owed by a building contractor. He was unable to retrieve the money through his solicitor. He hired a hitman to recover the money for him.
Try as I might I am completely unable to change the meaning or even put any kind of slant on the following words that came from Wallace’s own mouth:
I hired a hitman.
Neither can I put any slant on Wallace’s words:
This guy has guaranteed me I’m going to get it.
His claim that he wouldn’t send a gunman is bizarre and unbelievable when compared to his frank and detailed account of events.