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TDs must pay up as no more running up those limitless tabs at Dail bar

TIME has finally been called on TDs and senators running up large tabs in the Dail bar.

Our politicians are to be told that they will no longer be able to run up beer debts that are interest-free and have no repayment date.

The extraordinary situation, whereby elected representatives could clock up thousands of euros on a tab, has been in existence for years.

 

Cheapest

But after public outrage, Oireachtas officials undertook to review the situation.

Initially it was proposed that they would introduce a pre-paid charge card.

But now it has emerged that TDs and senators will be asked to pre-register their credit card in order to gain 60 days credit.

The Herald reported as far back as July 2011 that the tabs totalled more than €70,000.

In the aftermath of that story the bills were reduced significantly but the practice of TDs using tabs continued.

Oireachtas members also enjoy some of the cheapest alcohol in Dublin city centre, as the bar is subsidised by taxpayers.

A recent meeting of the Houses of the Oireachtas commission has finally decided to curb the credit system.

Under a new proposal, politicians will have to hand over their credit card details and then settle up their bill within two months.

"Outstanding balances will be applied to the relevant card after a period of 60 days," according to minutes of the commission meeting.

It has also decided to issue TDs and senators who have existing tabs with a notice telling them to pay up before the new system begins.

A letter will inform the members that they have 60 days to clear their bill.

The Oireachtas described the new idea as "prudent financial management".

"The majority of outstanding bills are settled in full at the end of each calendar month," it said.

 

Convenience

Four months after the last election, the Herald revealed how 31 ex-TDs and senators still had outstanding bills totally more than €8,000.

The Oireachtas has repeatedly defended the practice saying that it was operated for the "convenience" of members.

Politicians regularly used the system when hosting tours of Leinster House.

kdoyle@herald.ie


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