Saturday 24 March 2018

Taoiseach: TDs who fail to pay Dail bar tab should have bill deducted from salary

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Niall O’Connor

POLITICIANS who have failed to settle their Dáil bar bills should have the money deducted from their salaries or pensions, according to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

Mr Varadkar criticised both serving and former members of the Oireachtas who have left bar tabs, some of which have been outstanding for years.

A report from the Oireachtas Commission confirmed last week that it has had to write off bar debt because there is “no realistic prospect of recovery of the sums due”.

TDs and senators have been told that a revised credit policy is being developed to restrict the period for which they have to settle their outstanding bar and restaurant bills.

The issue of outstanding bar bills has been a long-running one. There have been many calls in the past for stricter protocols to be put in place.

But speaking to reporters in Temple Bar, Mr Varadkar said he would like to see the Oireachtas authorities pursue politicians - both current and serving - who have outstanding bills.

While accepting that targeting pensions would be difficult, Mr Varadkar called on the commission to examine all available options.

“On the bar tab, as you know there is a separation between the role of the Oireachtas and the role of the Government and I don’t want to be accused of interfering with the role of the Oireachtas. But it’s absolutely my view members and former members should pay their bills,” Mr Varadkar said.

“And I’d encourage the Oireachtas Commission to look at mechanisms of deducting that money from people's’ salaries or pensions. I’d imagine it is possible to deduct it from salaries, it probably isn’t possible to deduct it from pensions for reasons you’ll understand. But I’d encourage the Oireachtas Commission to examine that. Everyone should pay their bills, particularly politicians.”

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