Oireachtas bar should be open to the public – Deputy Doherty

The members’ bar in the Oireachtas is “a den of secrecy” and should be opened to all visitors to Leinster House, Sinn Féin finance spokesman Pearse Doherty has said.

The Donegal South West TD is also said that a photograph of former building society chief Michael  Fingleton be removed from the wall of the bar.

Leinster House facilities include a members’ bar and a visitors’ bar. The former is confined to current and ex-members of the Dáil and Seanad while the latter is open to visitors, staff and the press.

The public can gain access to Leinster House as guests of Oireachtas members and, as such, are eligible to use the visitors’ bar, but not the members’ bar.

Writing on his blog, the Donegal South-West Deputy Pearse Doherty described the members’ bar as “a place that represents all that is wrong with Irish politics. It is elite, exclusive and secretive.”

Mr Doherty said he was shocked to see a photograph of “none other than Michael Fingleton surrounded by a bunch of current and former Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael TDs and Senators”.

The golf team photograph of Mr Fingleton also features then TDs Austin Deasy, Hugh Byrne, Tom Enright, Robert Molloy and the late Colm Hilliard, Senators Denis “Dino” Cregan and Donie Cassidy.

They were the winners of the 1987 Army-Garda-Press-Oireachtas Challenge Cup for golf, presented by Irish Nationwide Building Society.

Unwilling to go on the record, a politician featured in the photograph told the Irish Times that Pearse Doherty has little to talk about.

Click here to read Deputy Pearse Dohetys blog