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TD Tom Barry pulling Aine Collins into his lap at the Dail Photo by: RTE

Irish parliament's bar opening hours to be investigated

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TD Tom Barry pulling Aine Collins into his lap at the Dail Photo by: RTE

The decision to investigate comes after the recent late night Dáil abortion debate in which one of the bars at Leinster House is believed to have remained open until after 5am.

There were calls from some afterwards for the TD’s who had been drinking alcohol to be banned from voting.

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams was particularly angry and asked that TD’s drinking during votes and debates be banned from entering the chambers

Mr. Adams wrote to Sean Barrett, the Dáil’s Ceann Comhairle on the final day of the house’s proceedings last week and referred to “boisterous” behaviour by members he suggested were late at the Leinster house bar.

Mr.Adams asked the Ceann Comhairle to verify whether the Dáil’s bars did have licenses, stating that he had heard they did not. He asked Mr. Barrett and his officials to examine whether their bar’s should be subject to the same licensing laws as others.

Mr. Adams wrote : “I’m sure you may be further concerned with the declining standards of behaviour and the increased boisterous and raucous outbursts during late sittings, which I believe are linked to the longer opening hours.”He also raised the matter of the effects on staff of long hours and the rights of staff regarding working hours and conditions.

The Irish Examiner reported that a spokesman for the Houses of the Oireachtas yesterday confirmed that the Ceann Comhairle had passed the letter to the Committee on Procedure and Privileges (CPP), of which Mr Barrett is a member.

The Oireachtas spokes-man further confirmed that Mr Barrett had referred the issues in the letter to the CPP, which is expected to meet once the Dáil resumes in September.

The all-night debate on the abortion legislation earlier this month was overshadowed when Cork East TD Tom Barry pulled his Fine Gael colleague, Cork North West TD Áine Collins, onto his lap. Mr Barry admitted he had been drinking before going into the chambers to vote.

The Cork East TD has since apologised saying “I have put my two hands up and said I am sorry. It won’t happen again. I did a really stupid thing but I had no intention of offending anyone or being sexist."

Maybe if there was a little more debating going on while sober, such incidents would not be the focus of our attention.

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