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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: July 18, 2011 @ 11:32 am

    Getting Casual Dáil Dressers by the Collar

    Deaglán de Bréadún

    The issue of a dress-code for TDs has been occupying minds of late. Should Ming and Mick and Richard Boyd Barrett wear a “tailored jacket and collared shirt” in the House? For media coverage, see here and also this piece. No doubt there is a wide variety of opinions in the Blogosphere …

    • John O'Driscoll says:

      I cannot believe that this non-issue is still being discussed and taking up time and column inches of serious journals and their journalists. Is there some tablet of stone somewhere that says these redundant cultural artefacts are an essential sign of ‘respectability’?? Understand me, I have ZERO respect for the denizens of your houses of power (collectively, en masse, as a general principle) whatever about how I may have some for a minority of individuals. Whether they wear Charvet or Levis makes no never mind to that. I don’t give a toss what they wear as long as they don’t expect to get any respect from me as a result of it. Sackcloth and ashes like I say. With the daily sum total of the Debt Millstone stencilled on the front and grovelling mea culpas on the back. Chance’d be a fine thing. Ye forget nothing and ye learn nothing in this kip.

    • Paul says:

      It doesn’t matter: Mr. Wallace and Mr. Flanagan looks like men who might have featured on the front battle lines in Braveheart, regardless of what they wear.

      Would they be tolerated in the House of Commons or the Reichstag? No. So why should it be tolerated in Ireland, a country in crisis being forced to talk about, or stomach the talk about etiquette of people who should know better.

      And they say it’s not about jobs for the boys…

    • peter barrins says:

      Perhaps I’m conservative, but I think all male TD’s should at least wear a pair of trousers and an open neck shirt. I am not a fan of ties either, but you can be smart-casual without wearing one – the operative word being ‘smart’.

      To be honest, in my view, Mick Wallace needs to embrace his age, while Ming and Boyd Barrett look scruffy. Then again Jackie Healy-Rae looked like an actor who had wandered off the set of Playboy of the Western World but he wore a collar and tie so there was no comment as such.

      I absolutely agree that in relation to TD’s it is a minor issue, but I think the way a person dresses going to work does, to some extent, reflect how they feel about their job and the place in which they work.

    • John O'Driscoll says:

      They should wear what they want. And occupy their minds instead with getting a few of the scum responsible for the destruction of this State and society to model Jumpsuit Orange.

    • John O'Driscoll says:

      There’ve been worse things than Mick n Ming’s folliclular hyperactivity tolerated in their day in both the House of Commons and der Reichstag.

    • cbr says:

      Their mode of dress – of Ming, Mick & Dick (Richard Boyd Barrett) – as they appear in the Houses of the Oireachtas for Dáil duty is utterly inappropriate, in my opinion. Societies evolve and certain mores, including dress codes reflect what is acceptable in certain social situations and walks of life. For example, we wear black at funerals as a mark of respect for the dead and there is something beautiful and sombre and essential about this. We dress up cheerily for weddings and this reflects the happiness of the occasion. We wear appropriate gear for sports, etc., and certain types of job require certain types of attire – for example builders wear hard hats, tough jeans and tough boots, which is entirely appropriate for that kind of work and office workers (we’re talking about men here) are generally expected to wear suit, shirt and tie and of course, the defence forces and the Gardaí wear the appropriate uniform. I should think a TD elected to the Dáil on a salary of plus or minus €100,000.00 would have the decency to wear the standard attire as most of their colleagues and their colleagues before them and indeed simply as a mark of respect for the office they hold. Their mode of dress and the recent conduct of Ming & Mick, in particular, has further isolated, or rather put into relief these guys as inappropriately dressed, immature jokers. The very thought of it galls my kibe.

    • Desmond FitzGerald says:

      It would beggar belief that such an issue could be discussed in parliament and the media where it not for the fact it’s Ireland. Never mind that the country is bankrupt, the life-chances of literally a few million people have been ruined due to the greed and corruption of about a few hundred people and what issue gets the most out-of-touch parliament in the western world all hot and bothered – who wears what type of shirt or trousers.

      Pity some of that passion can’t be used to tackle all the perks still being bled from the taxpayer by the ‘elites’, be they public sector or private sector – any chance that FG/L will do something so that the hard pressed worker won’t have to stand back back while some of the money needed for schools and hospitals and the elderly is instead transferred to the already wealthy in pension tax reliefs? Stopping all of that alone would save over €2billion a year – a year!

    • Tom says:

      I actually think from above comment “but I think the way a person dresses going to work does, to some extent, reflect how they feel about their job and the place in which they work” that often over dressing or distinctive dressing shows insecurity, and dressing smart is a way to boost confidence and fit in to the club.
      People having the confidence to wear outside-the-box can unhinge the insecurities of those that want to fit in, to the point that rather than address issues of state, they make an issue of dress-code.
      We don’t need more political-clones.

    • RPE McCarthy says:

      It is a question of respect. If they would go to their own Mother’s funeral or a sister’s wedding in combats and hoodies well that says quite a lot about them.

      Jackie Healy Rae looked much more like Mickileen from Ryan’s Daughter than anything from Playboy.

    • cbr says:

      PS — And on the distaff side, I would be of the opinion that the female Fine Gael TD, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, doth also go “over the plinth” in her manner of dress as well as in that rather daft driving mishap and come to think of it, I have noticed an excess of “bling” on many female TD’s (and what is it with those gigantic choker/medallion thingies they all seem to be wearing these days???) Any person in a group – in this case our elected representatives – that draws attention to him/her/self by garish overdressing or garish under-dressing is on some kind of ego trip and in my opinion, not properly focused on the very serious job at hand. The garishness of some of our TD’s, while slightly amusing in the initial hysteria as the last election results were coming in (where the electorate imagined it was getting revenge on a government that happened to be in power when the Global Economic crisis struck and severe austerity measures were being proposed as the order of the day for the country’s survival) will most definitely no longer be tolerated and especially in view of the recent accidental revelations of a switched on mic/rophone which betrayed some rather inappropriate attitude. Citizens, now fully aware that this coalition (now, belatedly, just about as up to speed on our position in reality vis-à-vis the Global economic situation as the previous coalition) are in the process of thoroughly implementing the four-year plan painstakingly put together by said previous coalition are NOT IN ANY MOOD for our OVERPAID TD’s to be displaying any egotistical uncouthness. To the offending males, I would say, cop on, get a haircut, get a shave and suit up; and to any garishly dressed females, I would say…….tone it down..

    • John O'Driscoll says:

      So you equate going to work with going to weddings and funerals in terms of solemnity and gravitas then RPE McCarthy? You’re rightly cut out to be a politician so. It ain’t the packaging, it’s the quality of the mechanics underneath I always say. And these last decades have certainly been all about ballsashiteanisopon pretending to be real sportscars. To use a motoring analogy from my boyhood.

    • Kynos says:

      Might be nice if we can leave this subject in its current state of déshabillément and move on to serious stuff. Like how do we ensure those who’ve destroyed this State and society pay a just price and how, thereafter, can we get this wreck afloat again?

    • Kynos says:

      ”Dog bites shark” – c’est magnifique but is it News? For a hopeful moment there I thought it meant Anglo was burning a bondholder.

    • peter barrins says:

      If a person joins an organisation as an employee they will adhere to the general dress code/culture and so it should be with our national parliament. It’s basic common sense and courtesy, if nothing else, which is probably why the people in question find it difficult to comply. If Ming, Wallace and whoever else, think they are being cool and giving the two fingers to “the establishment” by dressing like scruff jacks, I don’t believe they deserve any credit. So far they have contributed nothing of value and I suspect that by the time of the next General Election that will remain the case.

      I’m as sick looking at them as I am of listening to the constant soundtrack about economic doom and gloom, the banks, who is to blame, etc, etc; it’s time to move on and get the show back on the road, and find something else to talk about.

    • Kynos says:

      Take it over to Rosemary’s blog Peter. Here we’re more concerned with what’s inside than what’s outside. Starting with those vicious dishonest immoral bastards who’ve destroyed this country. Too many of them are outside when they should be ‘inside’ and not in a good way for them. But for the rest of us, an essential way. Did Germany in the wake of the Fall of the Third Reich just say ”Whew glad we got away with that without being completely destroyed now we need to ”move on” ”going forward” and quit ”pointing fingers’ and ”blamestorming’? Did She Himmell. She and her foreign conquerors carried out the root and branch review of what led Her to the point where an evil grotesque little Adolf The Painter could hijack Her democracy and throw Her to the wolves. And the same needs be done here before there’s any moving on. Typical Irish. Worrying about appearances while the house is burning down. Ye nest of vipers, ye whited sepulchres.

    • This fire and brimstone, hip-and-thigh style of denunciation belongs to the Reformation and not the world of today. It is a substitute for rational thought and analysis. Give over, Kynos, a chara!

    • Papillon says:

      @14 peter barrins — absolutely. Great comment.

      @ 15 Kynos — not even funny any more…………….

    • peter barrins says:

      @15 – I’d say Kynos, on the basis of what you write, that there are quite a few concerned with what’s “inside” of you!!

      Essentially what I said is that it’s time to start looking forward – looking in the rear view mirror won’t facilitate forward momentum. And then there’s the question of paralysis by analysis. Thankfully our wonderful new Government is forward thinking and starting to make solid progress. I believe the Irish nation has every reason to look positively to the future having hopefully learned something from its past errors.

    • cbr says:

      @ peter barrins

      I’m afraid you lost me at, “thankfully our wonderful new Government” (italics mine). The arrogance and foolhardiness of the leader of this wonderful new Government, as displayed in his recent frenetic attack on the Holy See and Pope Benedict XVI which was completely unjustified and nothing more than an exercise by his handlers to counteract and deflect the anger of the electorate on account of this leader’s broken promises with regard to the Roscommon situation and to play to a perceived populist gallery — essentially “the mob”. I have previously had no liking for FG but I had some respect for Enda Kenny on account of my understanding that this man was a practising Catholic. Now we know this man is, to say the least, economical with the truth, I have lost all respect for him. As someone who previously had unwavering support for FF, that is no longer the case since the present leader of FF has, as far as I am aware, endorsed Enda Kenny’s actions. I see nothing but disaster ahead for this country.

    • peterb says:

      Under no circumstances could the speech made my EK be considered “completely unjustified”. It may have contained certain minor inaccuracies but a line has to be drawn in the sand regarding the RCC, their rampant abuse of our children and complete disregard for the Irish people and the laws of this country.

      Anyway, if you see nothing ahead for this country but disaster, you’re already doomed and not going to benefit anyone. Fortunately our new Government is much more optimistic.

    • Sommerfugl says:

      What…no outrage……no “passionate” speech from our glorious leader vilifying the inappropriate response of a member of the upper house of the Oireachteas in relation to a child (fifteen year-old) abuse scandal………….why am I not surprised


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