The practice of keeping the bar in the Dáil open during late-night sittings has been the subject of criticism in recent months, following the controversial ‘lapgate’ where Fine Gael TD Tom Barry was captured on Dáil TV cameras pulling party colleague Aine Collins on to his lap at 2.40am.
Tonight’s Midweek programme on TV3 reveals the shocking statistics regarding alcohol consumption in the Dáil and admissions by Dáil members of having consumed alcohol before returning to the floor of the Dáil.
TV3’s Midweek contacted all 166 TDs by phone or email and asked them to take part in an anonymous survey on the Dáil bar. Of the 166 TDs contacted, 79 responded. The eye-opening results found that 82% of TDs who answered the survey agreed that the Dáil bar should not be allowed to serve alcohol past regular licensing hours when the Dáil sits late.
23% of TDs surveyed by Midweek said they had consumed an alcoholic drink and then gone back onto the floor of the Dáil, even if it was just to vote and 91% of TDs when asked, thought politicians shouldn’t lead by example and ban alcohol in Leinster house.
Speaking to TV3’s Midweek, Emmet Stagg TD who is a member of the Joint Sub-Committee on Administration confirmed that Gerry Adam’s request that the Dáil bars keep regular licensing hours had been considered and refused by the committee.
Mr. Adams confirmed to Midweek that he is still waiting for a formal response from the committee.
Emmet Stagg also reveals that he was happy for TD’s to have a couple of pints and go back into the Dáil to discuss serious issues such as the Abortion Referendum and the IBRC debate.
“If a TD has a pint or two I don’t think that’s a problem for me and I don’t think it’s a problem for the citizens of the country either.”