Debts racked up by TDs and senators in unpaid tabs in the Dáil bar will be automatically deducted from their salary from mid-June.

It is understood that all TDs and senators have received a letter from the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission outlining details of a new credit policy for the Dáil bar and restaurant.

The new payment system is being introduced after it emerged last year that unpaid Dáil bar and restaurant bills were written off as there was no prospect of recouping the debt.

The most recent annual report of the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission disclosed that almost €5,500 in unpaid Dáil bar and restaurant tabs was written off.

Last August, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that all current and former members of the Oireachtas who do not settle unpaid Dáil bar bills should have their salaries or pensions docked.

At the time, the Taoiseach said he believed it would be possible to deduct money from salaries, but perhaps not from pensions.

There are two restaurants in Leinster House: a members' restaurant for TDs and senators and a self-service restaurant used by members and other people working in the building.

There are also two bars in the complex, including one that is exclusively for the use of TDs and senators.

A letter sent to all Oireachtas members this week titled ‘New Credit Facilities for Bar and Restaurant purchases’ details how "the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission has approved new arrangements for members who wish to avail of credit facilities".

The letter, seen by RTÉ News, continues: "With effect from April 23rd, members will be required in advance of making any new purchases on credit to complete the attached application and deduction mandate form.

"The completed application forms will authorise the Oireachtas Service to arrange for any outstanding aged debt balances to be deducted by the preferred payment method of either credit/debit card or a salary deduction."

Debts dating back for a period of more than two months will be classed as "aged debt".

TDs and senators who use the credit facility will have payment automatically deducted from their pay "in the month following the end of the credit period e.g., new purchase amounts in April 2018 remaining unpaid at end of June 2018 will be automatically deducted from pay in early July 2018 or will be charged to the nominated credit/debit card".

It adds: "If you have obtained credit and wish to avoid a credit/debit card deduction, you can settle your account directly by any of the usual payment methods."

As the new revised credit policy is being introduced, TDs and senators have until the end of May 2018 to clear existing aged debt before "the mandated deduction option is utilised for the first time in mid-June 2018".