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Luke "Ming" Flanagan

Row brewing as independents shun Dail orders

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Luke "Ming" Flanagan

A major row has blown up in Dublin over the dress code for sitting members of the new Irish parliament.

The dispute over what TDs, members of the Dail, can and cannot wear is getting hot and heavy between the established parties and the new Independents and Sinn Fein deputies.

The more traditional parties – Fine Gaeland their coalition partners Labor and Fianna Fail – want a formal dress code for the parliament.

But Sinn Fein and Independent TDs are vehemently opposed to the plans to make male deputies wear a jackets, shirts and ties.

Already Wexford Independent Mick Wallace has set a new tone for the house with his pink shirts.
Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan prefers buttoned-up shirts and Richard Boyd Barrett likes to wear his shirt outside his trousers when attending the national parliament.

The traditionalists aren’t impressed however with Government chief whip Paul Kehoe claiming at a recent meeting of party chiefs that the Dáil dress code had “gone to pot.”

Kehoe is reported by the Irish Times to have told the various parties to tell their deputies to show more ‘decorum’ in the chamber.

The Technical Group representing the Independent TDs – including Wallace, Flanagan and Boyd Barrett – have reacted negatively to the proposal.

Fianna Fáil chief whip Seán Ó Fearghail told the Irish Times that his party has yet to take a position on the issue but he personally backed the need for a dress code.

“It bothers me that you see people in parliament in attire that would not gain entrance to nightclubs,” said Ó Fearghail.

Technical Group co-ordinator Finian McGrath hit back however and said: “They have a brass neck telling people what to wear, when some of the people who destroyed this country did it in fancy suits.”

Current rules at the Irish parliament state that: “members should dress in a manner that reflects the dignity of the House.”

The Dail Committee on Privileges and Procedures is expected to debate the issue when it sits after Easter.

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