Independent TDs reject dress code


Proposed new rules obliging TDs to dress smartly in the Dáil chamber or face being ejected have been branded pathetic by People Before Profit’s Richard Boyd-Barrett.

The Dáil’s Committee on Procedures and Privileges has recommended male deputies wear a tailored jacket, collared-shirt and trousers, while women are slightly less restricted in being banned simply from wearing jeans.

Independent TDs Mick Wallace and Luke “Ming” Flanagan, and Mr Boyd-Barrett will be among those most likely to be affected by the new dress code.

Mr Boyd-Barrett would not be drawn on whether he would abide by the new rules.

“It’s pathetic and further evidence that we have a Government of clowns,” the Dún Laoghaire TD said. “The country is drowning in debt, we have half a million people unemployed, we have people facing the loss of their homes and cuts to the most vulnerable, and these clowns are wondering what people wear in the Dáil. It’s pathetic.”

Mr Boyd-Barrett often wears jeans in the Dáil chamber and shirts not tucked in, while Mr Flanagan wears his shirts buttoned up to the neck and out over his trousers.

Wexford TD Mick Wallace brings a dash of colour to the chamber with his trademark pink shirts. None of the men wear formal jackets.

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams often takes Leaders’ Questions without a jacket and with his sleeves rolled up.

Mr Wallace branded the proposed dress code ridiculous. “If you want to talk about standards, I’d be far more interested in keeping up our standards in health and education instead of cutting them,” he told RTÉ radio.

“I honestly feel that people in here (Oireachtas) live in a bubble and they don’t actually understand what’s going on in the real world, and the notion that I would dress a bit more like ordinary people out there is a bit upsetting for them, it actually just tells you where they are in their heads.”

North Kildare Independent TD Catherine Murphy said dress codes have no bearing on people's actions. “There was a very strict dress code in Anglo Irish Bank," she said. "Dress codes don’t necessarily mean people do things with the right motivation.”

The proposals will be put to the Dáil before the summer break at the end of the month.

The same Dáil committee, chaired by Ceann Comhairle Seán Barrett,  yesterday banned calls to premium-rate numbers from Leinster House telephones following the “Ring of Kerry” controversy.