Taoiseach department disputes €965 bar and restaurant debts

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar famously said that politicians who refused to pay Dáil bar bills should have the amount deducted from their salary.

But his own department was among those listed as benefiting from a controversial €5,500 write-off of bar and restaurant debts - writes independent.ie.

A breakdown of the €5,500 written off by the Oireachtas shows the Department of the Taoiseach recorded as owing €965 across a series of invoices.

However, the department has disputed the figures, saying its records show that most of the money was repaid long ago.

The bill has in any event been written off by the Oireachtas, along with €4,500 owed by six politicians, several government departments, two committees, the Government press office and Fine Gael.

A detailed breakdown of who owes what has been released under FoI showing that one former politician owed a total of €943 to the restaurant. Another ex-TD or senator owes €301 directly to the Dáil bar.

Four other politicians, all of whom are either retired or have lost their seats, owed totals between €66 and €267 to the bar and restaurant. None will be chased up. The Houses of the Oireachtas said it would not identify the six politicians.

The Department of Defence, Foreign Affairs and Social Protection had debts listed at €417, €404 and €284 respectively.

But the Oireachtas said it could be certain if its records were accurate.

"Many of the invoices in question were incorrectly directed to certain departments. Some departments had records showing that invoices had been paid. Some departments had no records of any of the invoices in question and were not in a position to pay given the delay. The age of the balances casts doubts over their accuracy," it said.

The Department of the Taoiseach believes the €965.47 it is listed as owing is incorrect, saying €785 of it was paid.

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