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Oops! Spinner uptight at our Dail Bar exclusive. . .

JOURNALISM is about publishing the stories the establishment doesn't want you to know.

We're all too well aware that TDs and their army of officials would much prefer you'd never see the inside of the secretive Dail Bar.

After all, isn't that why they slapped a ban on taking pictures of the place.

The Herald was happy last night however to publish a photo of politicians and visitors happily sinking €4 pints of Guinness in the cosy confines of the Leinster House watering hole. The pic was even taken by a minister!

Predictably, within hours of the photo appearing, our old pal Mark Mulqueen, whose job is to portray TDs in a good light, was jumping up and down.

The €90k-a-year civil servant fired off an angry letter to our editor saying what we had done was all wrong.

Surprisingly, he tried to defend the TDs' three-month break, saying he took grave exception to the line that they were "scarpering on their 12-week break".

Bear in mind, Fine Gael has slammed Fianna Fail and the Greens' decision to shut down the Dail, with chief whip Paul Kehoe saying: "Only a madman, a Martian or a member of this Government would believe that the Dail should shut down for 12 full weeks."

Around the time Mr Kehoe was complaining, Mark Mulqueen, was busy emailing the Herald's editor giving off that we made the same point.

Under a picture showing the inside of the Dail bar, our reporter Cormac Murphy said: "Unemployment is at record levels, the country is mired in debt and our TDs are off on their holidays -- but not before socialising on cheap pints."

But in a statement that echoed the Herald's story, Paul Kehoe argued: "The economy is in the doldrums, 450,000 people are on the dole, there are cuts to vital services and the stack of legislation still to be processed is a mile high."

The Herald -- happy to bring the stories the spin-doctors get angry about.

He fumed that FF and the Greens were closing up shop and "running scared".

Mr Mulqueen correctly points out that there will be a series of Oireachtas committee meetings during the summer and that "members will be working in their constituencies, meeting the demands of their constituents".

But he ignores the fact that for the next 12 weeks parliament cannot fulfil its primary of function -- to pass legislation.