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Dublin: 13 °C Thursday 17 October, 2019
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Sinn Féin says Dáil bar opening hours referred to Oireachtas committee

The recent late-night sitting of the Dáil to discuss the abortion bill and the infamous lapgate incident has reignited debate about the appropriateness of bar opening hours in Leinster House.

Image: John Pickens via Flickr

THE DÁIL COMMITTEE on Procedures and Privileges is to examine the opening hours of the Dáil bar, according to Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams, in the wake of controversy over late-night drinking by deputies.

The recent late-night sitting of the Dáil to discuss the abortion bill and the infamous lapgate incident involving two Fine Gael TDs has reignited debate about the appropriateness of bar opening hours after the private members’ bar was found to be open until 5am.

Adams has said that the Ceann Comhairle Seán Barrett has referred the opening hours to the Committee on Procedure and Privileges although Barrett has previously indicated he has no issue with TDs having access to the bar until the early hours of the morning.

In a letter to Barrett, Adams raised concerns about the effects of long sitting hours on staff working in Leinster House and also complained about the behaviour of deputies.

“I’m sure you may be further concerned with the declining standards of behaviour and the increased boisterous and raucous outbursts during late sittings, which I believe are linked to the longer opening hours,” Adams said in a letter to the Ceann Comhairle.

He also inquired as to whether the bar has a licence or not, saying he had been told that it does not. “If this is the case, could you let me know how this is so?” Adams asked Barrett in his letter.

The Sinn Féin TD has previously raised issues with the Private Member’s Bar in Leinster House, remarking that at least two TDs in his earshot were intoxicated when the IBRC liquidation bill was debated in February.

Several TDs have since confirmed they were drinking on the night that the Dáil debated the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill although many said they had only “one or two”.

Read: Some TDs drank during abortion debate… and ‘one or two were a bit wobbly’

Government TD: The Dáil bar should not be serving alcohol at 5am

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Hugh O'Connell

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