Formal attire and Dáil Éireann


Sir, – A lot of the moaning about dress codes in the Dáil should be seen for what it is, a dig at one of the most effective politicians in Dáil Éireann, Mick Wallace. While some TDs in suits looked the other way as serious questions regarding Nama and the Garda Síochána went unanswered, he demanded answers.

I’ll take scruffy courage over tailored timidity any day. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 8.

Sir, – Padraig Dinneen (March 23rd) reckons the days of formal wear are gone. The next time he goes for an interview or attends a wedding, will he choose to wear a tracksuit? – Yours, etc,


Kilkee, Co. Clare.

Sir, – Padraig Dinneen asks “what difference does a pair of jeans or a three-piece suit make to a TD’s ability to legislate?” Of course the answer is very little, but few would adopt this line of reasoning.

Like Mr Dinneen, one could ask similarly daft questions across a range of scenarios. Why should our judges sit in robes? What point is there for the police to wear uniforms? And indeed, why should we advise young school-leavers to wear something smart for their first job interview?

The answer is because, taking account of circumstances, it is often appropriate to signal to our peers the importance of what we do by adapting our outer apparel.

Mr Dinneen might be right. I suppose our judges could do their jobs quite the same sitting in tank-tops at the bus station. I guess people could wear shorts and flip-flops to an office interview and still unveil their skills. But why must we gut solemnity from every due occasion as a nod to the most soulless utilitarianism?

Given the importance of legislating, declining to wear appropriately smart clothing seems to be an act of resignation to common decorum, signalling to constituents that one cannot be bothered how one appears. – Yours, etc,




Dublin 18.