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

Meanwhile, the Dáil Ceann Comhairle has told a Sunday newspaper that the bar should remain open all night, comparing TDs presence there to being like sitting in their front rooms.

Simon Harris
Simon Harris
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

FINE GAEL TD Simon Harris has said the issue of the Dáil bar being open and serving alcohol until 5am in the morning needs to be addressed in light of the events of the past week and more controversy about late-night drinking by TDs.

Harris was speaking to RTÉ Radio this morning when he said that the Private Members’ Bar should not be serving alcohol until 5am in the morning as was the case on Wednesday night/Thursday morning when TDs debated abortion legislation.

The lapgate incident involving two of Harris’s Fine Gael colleagues has added to calls for the availability of alcohol to be curbed in Leinster House.

“It shouldn’t be serving alcohol at that hour and this is something that is going to have to be addressed,” Harris told the Marian Finucane Show earlier today.

Several TDs on all sides of the house confirmed to this website that they drank “one or two” on Wednesday night but denied that TDs were intoxicated in the chamber however there have been claims that “one or two” deputies “were a bit wobbly”.

In an interview with the Sunday Times, Ceann Comhairle Seán Barrett said that the Dáil bar should be allowed to remain open as long as the Dáil is in session, saying it is a facility where members can go to have some privacy, adding “it’s like a sitting in your front room at home”.

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Harris’s call came after the Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams said his party would look to curb the opening hours of the Dáil bar and bring it into line with the licensing of other facilities outside of Leinster House.

Harris, a TD for Wicklow, acknowledged that what he was saying may not be “popular within the political system because this is a tradition within the Dáil for years” but insisted that it needed to be looked at in the coming months before another incident happens.

Read: Gerry Adams wants to restrict the sale of alcohol in the Dáil bar

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

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Hugh O'Connell

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