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TDs can still buy drinks on account at Dail bar

THE new Dail is all about "change" but not at the infamous bar.

Charge cards to stop our politicians running up massive food and drinks tabs have still not been introduced, despite promises to reform the system.

Oireachtas bosses had vowed to investigate a new pre-pay system but "no movement" was made in the summer recess.

In July, the Herald revealed how TDs and senators racked up a €70,000 bill in the Dail bar and restaurant since the election -- with €8,000 owed by those who lost their seats.

Following the expose, authorities at Leinster House said a pre-paid charge card, which would be topped up before being used, could be introduced to curb the bills.


But as TDs returned from their summer break yesterday the old system was in place.

A spokeswoman for the Houses of the Oireachtas said the new system was still at the proposal stage, saying: "There has been no movement on the pre-paid charge card plan."

Independent TD for Dublin North Central, Finian McGrath, said: "I think that's appalling that there's been no movement over the last two months.

"It's not acceptable that bills are not being paid on time."

A pint of Guinness in the Dail bar costs just €4. Under a special arrangement, any Oireachtas members can put purchases "on account".

A spokeswoman for the Houses of the Oireachtas was unable to reveal how much of the outstanding €70,000 bill had been paid since our revelations.