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And the busiest nights for the Dáil bar this year were….

The Dáil bar made over €11,738.14 on the first day of the 32nd Dáil in March.

Image: Shutterstock/Anton_Ivanov

THE BUSIEST NIGHT for the Dáil bar this year was the first day of the new minority-government convening.

Figures released to TheJournal.ie by the Houses of the Oireachtas under the Freedom of Information, reveals that on 10 March 2016, the Dáil bar generated over €11,738.14.

This was significantly more than in 2014, when the Dáil bar generated over €7,461.19 when the Water Services Bill was debated.

The election of the Taoiseach was the main item on the agenda for the busiest day this year – although as expected, no candidate was voted in as Taoiseach.

There was much fanfare and excitement among TDs new and old in the halls of Leinster House with many of them wearing their Sunday best for the first day of the 32nd Dáil.

Other highlights from that day included the Healy-Rae brothers hoovering up all the publicity – staging an impromptu gig outside the Dáil gates.

This all happened against the backdrop of an anti-water charges protest taking place.

Budget Day on 11 October pulled in the second highest revenue for the Dáil bar this year.

Sales amounted to a total of €6,096.80.

It was a historic day for “new politics” with some questioning if the government could get the Budget over the line.

In the end, Finance Minister Michael Noonan and Paschal Donohoe delivered an increase of €5 in almost all weekly social welfare payments, cuts in the lower USC rates, and an increase in the price of cigarettes, among a few other items.

Cabinet announcements

May 6 of this year pulled in a total of €5,851.oo. This was the day Enda Kenny announced his new Cabinet.

6/5/2016. New Cabinet President Of Ireland Michael D Higgins TD, Fine Gael Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Simon Coveney, Taoiseach Enda Kenny getting his Seal Of Office at Aras an Uachtarain. Source: Sam Boal

There were some surprises on the day – such as Simon Harris getting Health and the Independent Alliance’s Shane Ross getting Transport.

shane-28

But there must have been cause for celebration for some to tot up that bar tab.

Senators 

Fourth on the list this year was June 8 – when 60 new senators, who make up the 25th Seanad met for the first time in Leinster House and elected their new Cathaoirleach.

Government Chief Whip Regina Doherty also announced the government’s legislative programme, while Brendan Howlin announced the Labour front bench.

So, it was a day of celebration for some.

The day that Fianna Fail TD, Donegal’s Pat ‘The Cope’ Gallagher was elected the new Dáil deputy chairman or Leas Cheann-Comhairle pulled in €4,906.75.

July 6 was also the day the Dáil discussed rural broadband and the Misuse of Drugs (Amendment) Bill 2016, with the Dáil adjourning at 10pm.

Dáil bar revenue 

For the period of 1 January 2016 to 30 November 2016, a total of €275,639.06 was spent in the Dáil bar and Visitors Bar in Leinster House.

Earlier this year, it was reported that 33 politicians had yet to pay their Dáil bar bill.

TheJournal.ie can reveal that since the establishment of current minority-led coalition, the balance outstanding to the end of November is €6,224.

The single largest outstanding bill belongs to a senator and comes to €506.60.

Sinn Féin’s Louise O’Reilly who has been vocal in the past about a bar being in Leinster House told TheJournal.ie that she doesn’t understand how TDs think they can work and consume alcohol.

The party’s health spokesperson tweeted during the Finance Bill debate in November about the Dáil bar.

“There had been people who had been drinking,” said O’Reilly.

She said politicians having a drink while the Dáil is sitting is an insult to their constituents.

You’re literally saying to your constituents and to the people who voted for you ‘I’m voting fodder, I don’t know what is going on, I just turn up and hit the button when I’m told to and collect my expenses and I go home’ – and that is wrong in anybody’s book.

There is nothing wrong with being able to get something to eat if you are working till 3 o’clock in the morning, you should be able to get a bowl of soup or a cup of tea. I really honestly, genuinely don’t know how people can expect to do their work and I think that it is somehow acceptable to do your work and drink alcohol at the same time.

She said she was not “po-faced” about it, stating she enjoys a glass of wine.

“I’ve no difficulty with socialising at all and I’ve a good social life, but I just think when you’re in work and when you talk about this people say ‘well what about the staff’ I wouldn’t like to see any of the staff laid off, but we still have a need for tea and coffee and maybe soup and a scone or something and you do get hungry.”

Read: Kenny rules out bilateral agreement with UK ahead of Brexit talks>

 Read: Red nose? Green light: TDs clear Santa to enter Irish airspace>

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