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TD refusing to remove his Yes Equality pin in Leinster House

Jerry Buttimer insists his pin is “not a political badge”.

Jerry Buttimer sporting his Yes Equality pin
Jerry Buttimer sporting his Yes Equality pin

JERRY BUTTIMER HAS said he will not remove a pin he is wearing, which promotes a Yes vote in next week’s same-sex marriage referendum, because it is not party political emblem.

The Fine Gael TD, who chairs the party’s LGBT group, insisted the small pin is “not a political badge” and said that he will continue to wear it until the ban on the wearing of emblems in Leinster House is uniformly applied.

Yesterday, Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald was asked to remove her badge promoting a Yes vote by a Leinster House usher after she was spotted wearing it during Dáil questions.

Under a long-standing rule Oireachtas members, staff and visitors are not permitted to wear emblems while on the grounds of Leinster House. Several visitors to the Houses of the Oireachtas have been asked to remove such emblems in recent weeks, particularly those related to the referendum.

“Members, staff and visitors continue to cooperate on the longstanding protocol around emblems of a party political nature in the precincts of Leinster House,” an Oireachtas spokesperson said yesterday.

Buttimer said he had not been asked to remove the pin but insisted that if he was he would refuse to do so.

Buttimer 2

“Until all emblems are prohibited, and there is a uniform approach to the non-wearing of emblems, then I will continue wearing my Yes badge. It’s not a political emblem, it’s for equality and that’s what it stands for,” he said.

If there is an application of the rules across the board then I will very happily comply. I understand that there is a need to have rules and regulations of the house and I fully uphold them all the time.

The Cork South-Central deputy said that a “plethora” of emblems are worn by TDs and Senators throughout the year, citing symbols for mental health day, Easter lilies and Daffodils.

An Oireachtas spokesperson said yesterday that members “invariably cooperate” when reminded of the long-standing protocol and remove their emblems.

On the possibility of any politician being sanctioned for a persistent breach of the rules, the spokesperson said such a situation is “hypothetical”.

Several politicians have been spotted wearing badges promoting a Yes vote in the Oireachtas complex in recent weeks, including Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams who wore one during a recent Leaders’ Questions.

Meanwhile, independent senator Rónán Mullen was sporting an ‘It’s OK to Vote No’ badge earlier today.

But speaking to TheJournal.ie outside Leinster House, he insisted he would comply with Oireachtas rules and remove it once inside the complex.

Read: Here’s how half-a-million Yes badges became the referendum’s most coveted symbol

Read: Mary Lou was told to remove the Yes Equality badge she wore in the Dáil earlier

Read more: Ireland’s Equality Minister was asked by RTÉ to remove a Yes Equality pin

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Hugh O'Connell

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