It has been reported today that TDs and senators are facing combined unpaid Oireachtas bar and restaurants bills of almost €20,000.
RTÉ News obtained copies of the bills via the Freedom of Information Act. They reveal that 69 politicians have unpaid restaurant bills of €14,698.10, while 49 others have unpaid bar bills of €4,954.85. All unpaid bills must be paid early next year.
New rules were introduced in Leinster House in April 2018 because of concerns that the taxpayer would be left with unpaid Dáil bar and restaurant bills.
Under the new rules, TDs and senators using an official tab in either of the Dáil bars or the private members' restaurant had to agree that debt that is over two months old could be taken out of their annual salary or their private debit/credit card.
Since the first cases in June 2018, there has been an average of 30 politicians facing deductions from salaries, RTÉ News reports.
While TDs and senators have almost €20,000 in bar/restaurant debt, this is down from previous tears.
In 2018, there was a combined debt of €33,703.98 (€24,993.23 restaurant debt for 46 TDs and 30 senators, and €8,710.75 bar debt for 48 TDs and 25 senators).
In 2017, there was a combined debt of €35,623.77 (€29,106.07 restaurant debt for 61 TDs and 32 senators, and €6,517.70c bar debt for 45 TDs and 19 senators).
In 2016, there was a combined debt of €36,538.65 (€30,902.10 restaurant debt for 64 TDs and 31 senators, and €5,636.05 bar debt for 47 TDs and 19 senators).