Friday 21 September 2018

Unpaid Dáil bar tabs to come out of wages

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Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

The ending of a "ridiculous" situation where TDs and senators were able to run up unpaid tabs in the Dáil bar and restaurant has been hailed as "the sensible thing to do".

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

Social Democrats TD Róisín Shortall has previously criticised how almost €5,500 in unpaid bills were written off by the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission. The sum was disclosed in its most recent annual report.

Last night, she welcomed the new credit policy saying that 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".

Oireachtas authorities wrote to all TDs and senators this week saying that with effect from April 23, they will have to complete a deduction mandate form if they want to make purchases on credit. These forms authorise the Oireachtas Service to arrange for outstanding aged debt to be deducted from either their salary or credit or debit card.

Credit periods will be limited to two months, meaning the first automatic deductions could occur as early as mid-June.

Members have until the end of May to clear any existing aged debt before the new mandated deduction option is used for the first time.

TDs and senators who don't 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.

Irish Independent

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