Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD has said that correspondence he has received from a Dáil Committee on the issue of regulation of the Dáil Bar fails to deal with his concerns.
Mr Adams said:
“I finally received a response from the Oireachtas Joint sub-Committee on Administration to queries in relation to the regulation of the Dáil Bar. I have been told merely that the “Oireachtas is exempt from the requirement to hold a bar licence” and is “operated on the basis of parliamentary privilege.
“This does not deal in any way with the need to address what has become an issue of public concern.
“I first raised this issue last July. I have raised it with the Ceann Comhairle and with a number of Leinster House Committees since that time.
“Most people would find it odd that a bar can serve alcohol until all hours in a place of work. For this to the case in the Dáil,where important legislation affecting the lives of citizens is being debated, is unacceptable.
“It is a further example of the cosy, insider political culture that has existed in this state for many decades — one where politics is all about special privileges, cronyism and where standards observed by average citizens don’t apply. It’s time this culture was rooted out.
“The Dáil Bar should be regulated the same way as any other bar and I intend to continue to pursue this issue.”
Responding to weekend comments by Labour Chief Whip Emmet Stagg and Seanad Cathaoirleach Paddy Burke, dismissing the issue, Gerry Adams said:
“I am fond of a drink myself but this is a matter of regulation not prohibition. A lack of regulation across so many sectors of Irish society is the cause of much public anger.
“Emmet Stagg thinks the Dáil is an ‘old boys club’. He has previously stated that he sees no problem with TDs drinking before participating in important Dáil debates. His attitude and that of Senator Burke demonstrate why so many people have lost faith with the political system.”