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Lots of TDs are breaking the rules and wearing Yes pins - but will they be punished?

The wearing of pins and badges in Leinster House has become a hot topic in recent days.

INMO Annual Conference. Minister for Hea Source: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

TDS AND SENATORS who refuse to remove their Yes pins in the Houses of the Oireachtas will not face any sanction.

This is despite a long-standing rule that members, staff and visitors to Leinster House are not permitted to wear emblems of a party-political nature while in the complex.

Oireachtas authorities have confirmed they will continue to request that people within the parliamentary precincts remove any pins or badges that promote a Yes vote, but a spokesperson confirmed that those who do not comply will not face any sanction.

“We have no plan to issue any sanctions,” the spokesperson said.

The Houses of the Oireachtas protocol states:

Emblems of a party-political nature should not be worn or otherwise displayed within the parliamentary precincts, an exception being made solely in respect of persons attending the Distinguished Visitors Gallery.

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 18.40.29 Leo Varadkar wearing a Yes pin during a meeting of the Oireachtas Health Committee today.

The issue has arisen in recent days with several TDs and Senators being asked to remove pins and badges advocating a Yes vote in the same-sex marriage referendum on Friday week.

But two Labour TDs said today that they declined a request from ushers, who are in charge of security and keeping order in Leinster House, to remove their ‘Yes’ pins.

Tánaiste Joan Burton, who wore a pin yesterday but was not asked to remove it, today backed her Labour colleagues, Emmet Stagg and John Lyons.

Meanwhile, Labour’s equality minister Áodhán Ó Riordáin – who had his own pin controversy last weekend – got his hands on this unique badge:

Independent senator David Norris has also refused to comply with requests to remove his ‘Yes’ badge. Fine Gael TD Jerry Buttimer said last night he would refuse to remove his pin if asked.

On Tuesday, Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald was asked to remove her badge by an usher and complied.

A spokesperson for the Oireachtas said that members, staff and visitors were being asked to remove the pins and badges “on the basis that most political parties and individual Members have taken particular positions in the upcoming referendum”.

“Therefore, Oireachtas authorities do consider emblems that advocate a particular stance in the referendum party political in that sense,” they said.

But a well-placed Leinster House source said that the issue was not “exorcising the authorities here too much”.

“There hasn’t been any complaints about it. It’s more a reminder about the protocol, but it’s not something that is seen as a big issue here,” they added.

Read: Two more TDs have refused to remove their Yes Equality pins in Leinster House

Read: TD refusing to remove his Yes Equality pin in Leinster House

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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