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Hard times: Sales in Dáil bars fell during 2009

Just as the economy began to bite, sales in the Dáil bar fell by just under 10 per cent. Not much Bass sold either…

Bertie Ahern enjoys a pint of Guinness with Diageo chairman Lord Blyth. Bertie's preferred tipple, Bass, didn't appear to sell well in the Leinster House bars in 2009.
Bertie Ahern enjoys a pint of Guinness with Diageo chairman Lord Blyth. Bertie's preferred tipple, Bass, didn't appear to sell well in the Leinster House bars in 2009.
Image: Graham Hughes/Photocall Ireland

SALES IN THE two bars at Leinster House fell by 10 per cent in 2009, the year that the financial crisis really began to bite, according to accounts released by the Oireachtas.

The accounts – released to The Irish Daily Star on foot of a Freedom of Information request, and subsequently supplied to TheJournal.ie – show that the total value of sales in the bars dropped by over €30,000 in the 2009 calendar year.

Despite the drop, however, the bars and restaurants at Leinster House were able to pay €430,000 in cash to the Department of Finance – over twice what it returned in 2008 – while still keeping a healthy cash balance on hand.

Overall bar sales fell from €336,238 in the 2008 calendar year to €302,865 in 2009, with the accounts showing that the bars’ profit margin on sales falling slightly from 55 to 52 per cent.

The net profit in the bars fell by 14.2 per cent, from just under €168,000 in 2008 to €144,090 in 2009.

Separate records showed that Guinness was by far the highest seller in the bars – one of which is private to all but TDs and Senators – with management buying in 121 kegs, or over 10,000 pints, of the black stuff in 2009.

The bars also purchased 39 kegs of Heineken, 23 of Budweiser and 21 of Carlsberg, while they also brought in 84 litres of gin, 60 litres of brandy, 60 litres of vodka and almost 59 litres of whiskey.

Bass, the favoured tipple of former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, appeared to be unpopular in the first full year after he stepped down: neither bar in Leinster House bought a single keg of the ale in 2009.

Sales at the Leinster House restaurants recorded a slight increase in 2009, with over €1m of food being sold at the restaurants across the course of the year.

An Oireachtas spokesman said it was not concerned by the fall in bar sales recorded in 2009.

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Gavan Reilly

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