Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein plans to shut bar in Stormont

By Philip Ryan

Sinn Fein has plans to shut down the members' bar in Stormont - if an Executive is ever restored.

The plan emerged yesterday after Gerry Adams raised questions at an Irish parliamentary committee about a ban on alcohol sales in Leinster House while the Dail is sitting.

In his letter to the Dail's Committee on Procedure and Privilege, the Sinn Fein president said he had a "range of concerns" about the sale of alcohol in Leinster House. This included the opening hours of the Dail bar, the operation of the bar under privilege, the lack of licensing restrictions and the impact of opening hours on staff.

Mr Adams also said it is "unacceptable" that TDs have access to a "bar, in a workplace, where important legislation affecting the lives of citizens is debated".

However, a committee source said: "The Dail bar will not be closed - this is just another Sinn Fein stunt."

At the committee meeting, Tipperary TD Mattie McGrath criticised the Sinn Fein proposal and questioned why alcohol was not banned in Stormont where the Assembly sat until Mr Adams' party collapsed the power-sharing executive.

Later, Sinn Fein confirmed it also plans to close the members bar in Stormont when the Assembly is sitting.

Since last year the public has had access to the members' bar and dining room during Assembly recess periods without the need to be accompanied by authorised users.

Belfast Telegraph

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