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'It's a privilege': Adams told there'll be no changes to how the Dáil regulates the Dáil bar

The ‘status quo’ will stay in place, in spite of the controversy over the issue following two late night Dáil sittings last year.
Jul 5th 2014, 7:45 AM 14,605 45

THERE’S NO PLANS to change the way the Dáil bar operates, Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has been told.

The panel of TDs responsible for overseeing the bar’s running have told the Louth Deputy the ‘status quo’ will remain in relation to how alcohol is sold in Leinster House.

The existence of the Dáil bar — and in particular the fact that its allowed to stay open well into the early hours — has been subject to particular scrutiny following a number of late night sittings.

TheJournal.ie revealed last year that on the day and night the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill was debated, €7,000 was spent in the two bars located in Leinster House.

The infamous ‘lapgate’ incident involving Fine Gael TD Tom Barry and party colleague Áine Collins also occurred that night, with Barry admitting that he had consumed “a couple of pints” before it happened.

Adams has also claimed that at least two TDs were intoxicated on the night the Dáil debated the liquidation of the former Anglo Irish Bank as part of the promissory note deal.

He wrote to the Joint Sub Committee on Administration in February, taking issue with its contention that the Dáil Bar – which doesn’t need a licence to operate – is a “parliamentary privilege”,

But in its letter back, the  Joint sub-Committee on Administration told him the status quo would remain…

Source: Video TheJournal.ie/YouTube

“This highlights how completely detached this Government is from the views of the general public,” Adams said.

“Most people, I would contend, believe that having a bar, that can open until any hour of the morning, in the Dáil, where important legislation affecting the lives of citizens is being debated, is an unacceptable anachronism in this day and age.

“The Dáil Bar should be regulated in the same way as any other bar. Once again, the Committee has failed to deal with an issue, which caused considerable public anger last year.”

The Joint sub-Committee is chaired by Fine Gael TD Joe Carey and includes Emmet Stagg and Jack Wall of the Labour Party, Paul Kehoe and Martin Heydon of Fine Gael, John Browne of Fianna Fail, Independent TD Catherine Murphy and Sinn Féin’s Aengus Ó Snodaigh.

Read: Pints, wine and scones: Nearly €7k spent in Dáil bars during late night abortion debate >

Read: 17 TDs admit they’ve had an alcoholic drink before going into the Dáil chamber >

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Daragh Brophy

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