€200,000 for TDs to break a sweat in gym
It cost more than €200,000 to try to get our politicians to slim down and shape up during the last Dail.
Figures obtained by the Sunday Independent under a Freedom of Information request highlight the range of fitness equipment available in the Dail gym.
A host of get-fit gadgetry is at hand, including assorted ab trainers to help TDs, senators, and staff from the Houses of the Oireachtas find that ever-elusive slimline shape.
There's also various leg-toning machines, plus standard treadmills and exercise bikes.
And if any of our fit-focused politicos are determined keep an eye on what's happening in the wider world while they work up a sweat, there are eight plasma TV screens dotted around the fitness centre.
The newly released figures show during Labour and Fine Gael's tenure in power, some €187,140 was spent over five years to keep the gym up and running.
A further €18,849 was spent on 'equipment maintenance' costs.
In 2011, the overall cost of running the gym came to €36,577.
In the following three years, over €109,620 was ringfenced to cover operational costs. Then, in 2015, nearly €41,000 was spent on running costs.
There are four Technogym Run 700 treadmills, two Technogym Excite cross-trainers, two rowing machines and two exercise bikes provided.
Anyone seeking to pump iron can avail of a suite of resistance training machines, including a total abdominal workout, a leg-extension machine, a leg curl-machine plus a chest press.
Dumbbells - ranging in weight from 2kg to 20kg - are also available, along with two exercise balls, plus an ab trainer and even a small trampoline.
The equipment - worth over €81,600 - was purchased by the Office of Public Works as part of the refurbishment of Kildare House in 2006.
The operation of the gym is outsourced to a company called Inspire.
Between 12 and 15 people can comfortably use the room at any time.
Fine Gael's Ciaran Cannon, former TD Jimmy Deenihan, and Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams are known to be regular users of the gym.
But a source says the uptake from the recent batch of newly elected TDs has so far been "modest".
A spokeswoman also confirmed that two part-time staff are employed in the fitness room.