Dáil bars forced to chase 11 TDs and senators over their unpaid tabs
Published 09/02/2016 | 02:30
As politicians lecture each other about fiscal responsibility on the campaign trail, it has emerged that several incumbents of Leinster House have had trouble keeping on top of their own bar bills.
During the course of last year, 11 TDs and senators were chased by Houses of the Oireachtas authorities for failing to pay their bar tabs.
Warning letters were issued to the public representatives after they failed to cough up for food and drink bought in two bars operating in Leinster House.
Sample copies of the letters were released by the Houses of the Oireachtas.
The records also reveal that more than 14,000 pints of beer were bought in the two bars during 2015.
One of the bars is open only to elected members and ex-TDs and senators. The second one is open to elected members, staff, journalists and visitors.
The busiest drinking night in Leinster House was the night of the Budget last October, when almost €6,300 was spent in the two bars, receipts released to the Irish Independent under Freedom of Information rules show.
The documents also show 11 warning letters were issued to TDs and senators over unpaid tabs at the bars during the course of 2015.
This followed a decision of the Oireachtas Commission that all "aged balances" should be fully paid and cleared.
The letters informed TDs and senators who had yet to settle their bills that their credit would be cut off until balances were cleared.
The names of the politicians involved have not been disclosed. Some owed money from the previous year.
TDs and senators were told they needed to pay pre-2015 balances immediately and thereafter clear more recent unpaid bar bills.
Some seven of the politicians contacted made arrangements to have the payments deducted from their salaries. It is unclear what arrangements the other politicians made.
The records reveal the most popular beer sold in Leinster house was Guinness, which accounted for twice as many kegs as its nearest rival.
In total, 82 kegs of Guinness were consumed during 2015.
In comparison, 41 kegs of Heineken were consumed, 15 kegs of Carlsberg, 13 kegs of Budweiser and 12 kegs of Smithwicks. A keg of beer holds about 88 pints.
The busiest day was October 13, when the Budget was delivered. Some €6,295 worth of drink, food and cigarettes were bought. Records for that day show 588 pints of beer, 109 bottles of beer, 119 measures of spirits and 122 orders of wine were consumed.
Also purchased were 33 packets of cigarettes, all of which were sold in the hours before an extra 50 cent was added to the price of a box.
The next four busiest days in the bars last year all came in the run-up to Christmas.
December 2, when a bill on rent certainty and homelessness was debated, saw €6,023 spent in both bars.
December 16, the day before the Dáil rose for Christmas, was also busy, with €5,052 spent.
Accounts detailing the performance of the bars in 2015 are not yet available.
Despite offering beverages at a discount compared with establishments elsewhere in Dublin city centre, the bars have a reputation for being profitable. Profits of €115,466 were recorded in 2014, a jump of 10pc on the previous year.