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on the house

TDs and Senators rack up over €2,000 in arrears at Dáil bar and restaurant

Figures obtained by TheJournal.ie show how much was owed by Dáil staff last month.

TDS, SENATORS AND Oireachtas staff had cumulative arrears of over €2,000 at the Dáil bar and restaurant by the end of November, figures obtained by TheJournal.ie show.

Data released under the Freedom of Information Act shows that a total of €2,336.05 was outstanding in the Dáil’s restaurant and bar by the end of last month.

There are two bars in Leinster House – one that is open to visitors and one that is only for use by TDs and senators.

There are also a members’ restaurant in Leinster House, where members of the both Houses can dine, and where visitors can be invited. There is also a cafeteria, which is open to all. Food is also available in the bars.

According to the figures, ten TDs, six Senators and five Oireachtas staff members owed €1,840.90 between them at the Dáil restaurant by the end November.

A further €495.15 was outstanding in the Dáil bar at the end of last month, owed by ten TDs and four senators.

It was not clear whether the same TDs and Senators had outstanding tabs in both the restaurant and bar.

Both bars were closed when Covid-19 restrictions were implemented in the spring, but the private Dáil Members’ Bar re-opened on 6 July, a week after pubs serving ‘substantial meals’ were permitted to begin trading again.

However, the public visitors’ bar remained closed because it is not able to serve substantial meals.

In 2018, the Oireachtas introduced a policy whereby politicians who don’t pay their tab in the Dáil bar and restaurant for two months have it automatically taken from their salary.

An Oireachtas spokeswoman said the figures provided represent a permitted credit which has yet to be automatically deducted from TDs or Senators. The debts are due to be paid by January 2021.

The spokeswoman added that no former members who left office following the Dáil and Seanad elections have outstanding balances to the restaurant or bar.

Contains reporting by Sean Murray.

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