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Dáil suspended as Ming decries Ceann Comhairle comments on dress code

Luke Flanagan took issue with Seán Barrett’s newspaper interviews in which he asks for sharper dress in the Dáil.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nofk7nmE1z8

PROCEEDINGS IN THE DÁIL were suspended for almost 10 minutes earlier today, amid a row over comments attributed to the Ceann Comhairle about a possible dress code for TDs.

Seán Barrett was interviewed for today’s Irish Independent, under the headline: ‘Ceann Comhairle tells Ming and Mick: ‘Dress to impress’ in the Dáil’.

In the article, he said it would be his ‘personal preference’ to see a dress code – as recommended by the Dáil’s standards committee last year, but not yet brought into effect – which would see male TDs asked to wear shirts with a collar, and a ban on denim.

Recommendations from the standards committee cannot take effect until they are adopted by the Dáil as a whole – meaning they would have to be debated by TDs before they could come in.

This morning, Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan – one of the TDs who usually eschews business dress in favour of more casual attire – sought to raise the Ceann Comhairle’s remarks on a point of order.

Barrett disregarded Flanagan’s calls for about 30 seconds until Ming took to his feet, forcing the Ceann Comhairle to disrupt Dáil business.

“I am asking you to desist from making comments about the way I dress, and the way other members of the house dress, to the national media,” Ming asked.

This morning I got a call from my wife, to tell me that my children [...] are being teased because of the comments you were making. I want an apology. You are making my life, and my family’s life, difficult with your comments.

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Barrett insisted he had not made any such comments, but Ming continued: “Please desist from insulting the way I dress. Please desist from it.”

Unable to bring the Dáil to order, Barrett suspended the House and left the chamber.

On returning – with Ming and his neighbour Mick Wallace having also left – Barrett clarified that he had not referred to any particular TDs when making his newspaper comments.

“I did not, in any article, mention any deputy in relation to their dress code,” he said.

Read: Taoiseach and Ceann Comhairle at odds over Dáil dress code

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Gavan Reilly

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