As the son of a Donegal born bar manager who spent most of his working life in Belfast, I like to sit up and listen when Belfast Barman(ager) has something to say.
He’s been looking at some facts and figures about what they drink in the members bar in Stormont (yep, they’ve got one)… What struck me was just how abstemious they all are…
– The annual turnover of the Members’ bar for the past 3 financial years i.e. 01 April to 31 March is as follows:
2011-12 – £13,399.51
2012-13 – £11,838.50
2013-14 – £7,612.75
I think from memory that the joyous last week of the Star and Garter pub in Holywood at the of 1969 shipped cool £1,000 in old money. Not bad when a bottle of stout was a mere 1s 1d.
In all the bars of Leinster House on one particularly busy night they managed to pot nearly the whole turnover of Stormont’s Members bar in one sitting.
Belfast Barman(ager) was less than impressed:
Stormont is running a shebeen, and throwing money at an industry it has no grasp of understanding…whilst hard working businesses outside the iron gates have to tighten the purse strings to make ends meet, no such worries up in the ivory tower.
What strikes me is a thought from the other side of the table. Why are our MLAs NOT using the bar more often. The tough answer might be because they are barely there and are rarely under the kind of pressure to make the sort of deal that means you need drink.
Oh, and the most popular drink. That would ah, be, ah, an Americano Coffee…
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty