Dáil dress code may be imposed following complaints

Committee to discuss whether TDs who dress inappropriately should be penalised

The Dáil’s Committee on Procedures is to discuss on Wednesday whether to penalise politicians who dress inappropriately in the House.

The committee will meet to consider if a dress code should be imposed in the Dáil and Seanad.

The TDs will receive a 45-page research paper on issues relating to the standards of dress in 40 other parliaments.

The report was requested by the Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó’Fearghaíl following a number of complaints regarding members’ attire.


The document, seen by The Irish Times, says 16 parliaments, including those in Portugal and Israel, as well as the European Parliament, have no dress code or regulations concerning what members wear.

However, the report adds that their custom and practice is to “dress formally and neatly” without explicit rules.

Specific regulations

The paper says 24 parliaments, including the United Kingdom, Spain and France, have specific regulations.

These include the banning of jeans, bathing shorts, sports clothes, hats, headdresses, caps and shirts that contain political statements.

In Canada, turtlenecks and ascots are prohibited while in Bosnia and Herzegovina slippers, backless shoes and a naked torso are described as inappropriate.

The report analyses what penalties can be enforced if members fail to abide by the regulations imposed.

Written censure, suspension from sittings or direct discipline from their party are examples of potential enforcement measures.

In the UK and Canada, members will not be called to speak and may be asked to leave the chamber if dressed inappropriately.

In many cases it says the dress code is enforced by the speaker of the house while in others the security service prevents those not suitably dressed from entering premises.

Declined entry

The report also explores written dress rules for visitors similar to parliament in Latvia and Israel. Persons not dressed appropriately will be declined entry.

Current Dáil rules state merely that members should dress “in a manner that reflects the dignity of the House”.

The introduction of a dress code has been proposed several times in recent years but has never come to pass.

The committee is expected to prepare a draft proposal based on the research supplied to it.

Mr Ó’Fearghaíl is understood to advocate a dress code, given the number of complaints which have been made to his office about the matter.