Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD has expressed concern at media reports indicating that the Oireachtas Committee on Procedures and Privileges (CPP) is refusing to tackle the Dáil Bar controversy and is instead seeking to duck an issue that caused widespread public anger last year.
A report in today’s Irish Examiner quoted a source close to the Committee as saying: “Nothing’s been done and nothing is planned to be done about the opening hours in the coming year.”
The Sinn Fein Leader first raised the Dáil Bar issue ten months ago, including with the Ceann Comhairle and with a number of Leinster House Committees.
His concerns were underlined by notorious incidents involving TDs under the influence of alcohol while debating important legislation.
On the night of the infamous ‘Lapgate’ incident the bar served until 5.30am as the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill was discussed and voted upon. Till receipts showed that 331 alcoholic drinks were consumed by Oireachtas members on the night.
Speaking this afternoon Gerry Adams said:
“I first wrote to the Ceann Comhairle on this issue last July.
“Sean Barrett then referred it to the Committee on Procedure and Privileges of the Dáil and also the CPP of the Seanad.
“It was subsequently referred to the Joint Sub-Committee on Administration. I understand it was discussed by this committee at meetings in November and December but I have received no formal response to my letter of concern.
“It appears the defence for doing nothing is that the Dáil Bar is what they term a ‘Members’ Privilege’. This shows how totally out of touch Leinster House authorities are with how the public see this issue.
“It is an anamoly to have a bar on the premises of a workplace, open until all hours of the morning. But to have this situation in the Dáil where important legislation affecting the lives of so many citizens is being debated is disgraceful.
“The Dáil Bar should be regulated the same way as any other bar and I intend to continue to pursue this issue when the Dail resumes.”