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Last orders for the cut-price Dail bar?

OIREACHTAS bosses are coming under mounting pressure to end the practice of serving cut-price alcohol in the Dail bar.

Thirsty politicians are continuing to enjoy some of the cheapest drink in the country – with pints of beer being sold for 70 cent less than in some city centre pubs.

While ordinary punters are expected to splash out up to €5 for a pint of Guinness in parts of Dublin, TDs and senators pay just €4.30 in Ireland's most famous hostelry.

But one TD last night said the price disparity was "outrageous". Waterford deputy John Halligan has called on the Oireachtas to price its beer and spirits at the same level as other pubs and restaurants.

"Why should TDs be allowed to avail of cosy prices just because they are members of the Dail? It's quite clear the drink is heavily subsidised and that's completely wrong.

"The alcohol should be priced on a par with other pubs in the country, that it is only right and just. An unemployed person, or anyone else for that matter, should not be paying any more than a TD, this is an outrageous situation," he said.

Along with being sold cheap drink, TDs have been enjoying the perks of a limitless tab for years. According to figures, a hefty €10,690.55 is currently outstanding, on top of almost €60,000 owed by politicians following meals in the Leinster House restaurant.

One politician, whose name has been withheld, owes a drinks bill of almost €1,400. As reported yesterday, Oireachtas bosses are finally calling time on the current tab system which has sparked public outrage.

It's been agreed that TDs and senators will be asked to pre-register their credit card in order to gain 60 days' credit.