Lapgate fails to call time on Dí¡il bar drinks

  • Post category:News

The notorious incident ”” in which Cork TD Tom Barry pulled Fine Gael colleague Áine Collins down onto his lap in the early hours of the morning as deputies voted on X-case legislation ”” sparked global headlines and highlighted the Dáil’s drink culture.

From the Irish Examiner

But calls for a clampdown on alcohol-fuelled late night sittings have been ignored by the Committee on Procedure and Privileges (CPP) which holds sway over the two Oireachtas bars.

A source close to the committee said: “Nothing’s been done and nothing is planned to be done about the opening hours in the coming year.”

Uproar following Lapgate saw Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams write to the Ceann Comhairle suggesting it was time for the bars to be operated under the same licensing laws as the rest of the country, and the letter was passed on to the CPP.

The Members’ Bar can stay open for up to an hour after the Dáil has finished its proceedings, and on the night of Lapgate served until 5.30am as the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill was discussed and voted upon by TDs.

Takings in the Members’ Bar ”” exclusively reserved for TDs and senators ”” for that all night session amounted to €1,440.80.

Till receipts showed that 331 alcoholic drinks were downed by Oireachtas members during the session.

These included 105 pints of lager at a cost of €493.50, 74 pints of Guinness, totalling €318.20, 22 pints of Smithwicks costing €94.60, and 31 quarter bottles of wine amounting to €170.50.

Thirsty TDs and senators also knocked-back 31 bottles of beer at a cost of €145.70, and forked out €118.90 for 29 glasses of gin and vodka, and €85 for 17 brandies.

The adjacent Visitors’ Bar, where TDs and senators often entertain guests, and other Oireachtas staff and accredited media drink, also had a roaring trade that night, taking in €3,572.

Mr Barry admitted he had taken drink that night, but insisted he was not drunk.

Ms Collins branded the Lapgate incident “disgusting,” and also criticised a Fine Gael spokesperson who initially dismissed the matter as “horseplay”.

“It was very disrespectful, it was very inappropriate, especially where we were to me personally, but also in the context of the fact we were in the house of parliament,” Ms Collins said.