TDs resist call to ban alcohol from Leinster House

TDs resist call to ban alcohol from Leinster House

More than 90% of TDs who responded to a recent survey thought politicians should not ban alcohol in Leinster House.

Speaking to TV3, Emmet Stagg TD revealed that he was happy for TDs 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.

TDs resist call to ban alcohol from Leinster House

“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,” he said.

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, one refused to take part, seven said they weren’t available and 79 did not respond.

The practice of keeping the bar in the Dáil open during late-night sittings has been the subject of criticism 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 has promised to reveal "the shocking statistics regarding alcohol consumption in the Dáil", as well as admissions by Dáil members of having consumed alcohol before returning to the floor of the Dáil.

Some 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.

A total of 23% of TDs surveyed said they had consumed an alcoholic drink and then gone back onto the floor of the Dáil, even if it was just to vote.

91% of participating TDs thought politicians should not lead by example and ban alcohol in Leinster house.

Deputy Stagg, a member of the Joint Sub-Committee on Administration, confirmed that Gerry Adams' request that the Dáil bars keep regular licensing hours had been considered and refused by the committee.

Deputy Adams confirmed to 'Midweek' that he is still waiting for a formal response from the committee.

Questions and results of survey:

1. When the Dáil sits later than usual should the members bar be allowed to serve alcohol past regular licensing hours? - 13 Yes, 60 No, 6 Don’t know

2. Do you think there is a drinking culture in Leinster house? - 9 Yes, 67 No, 3 Don’t know

3. Have you ever had an alcoholic drink and then gone back onto the floor of the Dáil – even if it’s just to vote? - 17 Yes, 58 No, 4 Don’t know / refused to answer

4. Given Ireland’s problems with alcohol, should politicians lead by example and ban alcohol in Leinster House? - 7 Yes, 72 No

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