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Dail shop to get €70k cafe conversion

TDs will be able to sip gourmet coffee on their way into Leinster House with plans for a new cafe in the grounds.

A shop (inset) that cost €1.3m to build and was operated by Rehab is to be redesigned as a barista-style coffee shop.

Another €70,000 of taxpayers' money is to be poured into transforming An Siopa, in the grounds of Leinster House, into a tearoom and coffee shop.

Rehab operated the shop from 2004 through its SMILES franchise of shops, and offered sheltered employment to two staff at the site where they were paid up to €12.61 an hour, according to a spokesperson for the charity.

Rehab asked last summer for a subsidy of €22,000 to continue operating the struggling shop, but this was rejected by the Houses of the Oireachtas Management Advisory Commission.


The shop, which also sold souvenir Oireachtas merchandise, ceased trading last July 1 and has remained closed since. The employees were redeployed.

A report has revealed plans to redesign An Siopa with an additional €70,000 needed to convert it.

It is estimated the coffee shop will need to sell 81 cups a day to break even.

Approval of the proposal is dependent on the Office of Public Works granting the funds, while planning permission, waste management and an archaeological licence need to be obtained.

According to the report, June is the target date for the opening of the new tea and coffee shop.