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Parliamentary Speaker tells colleagues to come to work sober

Speaker of Parliament Eero Heinäluoma has taken issue with MPs coming to Parliament in an inebriated state. Heinäluoma cites the constitution in his blog, writing that parliamentarians are to carry themselves in a dignified manner.

Eero Heinäluoma Image: Yle

He says it should be taken for granted that sobriety at the nation's legislature should be a minimum requirement.

Heinäluoma writes that the Parliamentary Speaker is obliged to intervene if an MP is drunk in the chamber. A warning can be issued to the offending parliamentarian, or a speaking ban given for the duration of the session. A repeat offender faces a two-week suspension from parliament.

The issue has been in the limelight following the revelation by the tabloid Iltalehti that National Coalition Party parliamentarian Sampsa Kataja attended parliament in an inebriated state just before Christmas.

The gossip magazine Seiska meanwhile reports that Finns Party MP Teuvo Hakkarainen recently arrived at parliament straight after spending a boozy evening at the club house of the Bandidos motorcycle gang.

Hakkarainen seeks help

The Finns Party’s Parliamentary group chair, Pirkko Ruohonen-Lerner, announced on Tuesday that Hakkarainen is to undergo treatment for alcoholism.

His period of treatment will last throughout the spring parliamentary session and possibly also into the autumn. Despite the treatment, he will be allowed to participate in some parliamentary work.

The party’s parliamentary group discussed Hakkarainen’s behaviour, which has caused embarrassment recently. Ruohonen-Lerner admitted to the meeting that problems had occurred and that a limit had been reached.

“I’m glad he’s admitted his problem and is seeking help,” she said after the meeting.