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Dail bar bills may come out of TD salaries

Politicians who fail to pay their Dail bar tab each month may have the money taken directly out of their salaries.

The decision has been taken by the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission that runs Leinster House because of a small number of TDs and senators consistently breaching the “normal credit limits”.

CREDIT

The credit period will now be restricted to one month from the date of the transaction and no further credit will be extended until the outstanding amount is paid in full.

The commission has asked that payment options, such as direct deductions from salaries or pensions, be considered to clear the outstanding debts.

It has also asked that Oireachtas officials contact those in arrears to arrange a “schedule of payments” for the outstanding balances.

Commission members include Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett, Senator Paddy Burke, cathaoirleach of the Seanad, and other TDs and senators.

After the 2011 election, Dail and Seanad members owed a total of €68,000 and one politician ran up a bill of €8,000.

At the end of 2012, the outstanding debt for the Dail restaurant and bar ran to €72,000, with almost €40,000 of that unpaid for four months or more.

A previous proposal to introduce a system of pre-paid cards was dropped.

It was decided that the set-up and administration costs would be too high.

Unexpected

TDs and senators insist, however, that tabs are necessary to pay for unexpected expenses such as soft drinks, tea, coffee and sandwiches.

These arise when they have invited groups, constituents or school tours.

csheehy@herald.ie


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