Saturday 19 January 2019

Money to be taken from TD's wages to pay outstanding Dáil bar tabs

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Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

THE ending of the “ridiculous” situation in which TDs and Senators were able to run-up unpaid tabs in the Dail bar and restaurant has been hailed as “the sensible thing to do”.

Oireachtas authorities have written to members telling them that bills that remain unpaid for two months are to be deducted from their wages or bank accounts.

Social Democrats TD Roisin Shortall previously criticised how almost €5,500 in unpaid bills were written off by the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission.

The sum was disclosed in the commission’s most recent annual report.

Last night, Ms Shortall welcomed the new credit policy saying the old system, “where people were allowed run up bills indefinitely”, was “ridiculous”.

She said it was “completely unacceptable” that some members left office without paying their bills.

Ms Shortall said the new system “is the sensible thing to do” and that it will “end this practice”.

Oireachtas authorities this week wrote to all TDs and Senators advising them that with effect from Monday, they will have to complete a deduction mandate form if they want to make purchases on credit.

These forms authorise the Oireachtas to arrange for outstanding debt to be deducted from members’ salaries or credit or debit card.

Credit periods will be limited to two months. This means  the first automatic deductions could occur as early as June.

Members have until the end of next month to clear existing debts before the mandated deduction option is used for the first time.

TDs and Senators who do not set up a credit facility under the new policy have been told they should not seek credit in the bar or restaurant “out of courtesy” to the staff.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar last year suggested that TDs who fail to settle their tabs should have the cash deducted from their wages.

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