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Irish politicians have started paying for their pints on time

Leinster House authorities are taking a more proactive approach when it comes to collecting money owed.

Image: John Pickens via Flickr

THE AMOUNT OF money politicians owe to the bars in Leinster House has fallen dramatically in recent months owing to a more proactive pursuit of outstanding bills by Oireachtas authorities.

At the end of last month a total of €11,715 was owed to the bar facilities in the Houses of the Oireachtas, a sharp fall from the €72,000 that was owed at the end of 2012 – the last available figures.

An Oireachtas spokesperson said that invoices are now generally being settled within one month of the date of purchase owing to a more proactive approach by those responsible for chasing outstanding invoices.

“We are proactive in following up on any unpaid invoices and the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission is also interested in ensuring that accounts are settled promptly,” a spokesperson said.

In July, it was reported that Oireachtas authorities would employ private debt collectors to chase TDs’ and Senators’ for outstanding bar bills.

There have also been suggestions that members’ could have the amounts they owe deducted from their salary after it emerged that tens of thousands of euro in unpaid bar tabs had been run up over recent years.

However, no debt collection agency has been employed by authorities in Leinster House with a source saying it was never considered as a serious proposal.

There has also been no attempt to deduct outstanding amounts from the pay of Oireachtas members.

The two Dáil bars – one exclusively for TDs and Senators and one for staff and visitors – have come under renewed scrutiny in recent times after a number of controversial late-night sittings and claims that some deputies have been drunk while at work.

Last year a bar bill of nearly €7,000 was run-up during a late-night sitting to pass the abortion legislation – an evening which became know as ‘lapgate’ after Fine Gael TD Tom Barry pulled party colleague Áine Collins onto his lap prior to a vote.

Read: Dáil bar is exempt from holding a licence and its operation will not change

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

Read: There is “no record” on who licences the Oireachtas bars

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Hugh O'Connell

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