Even if the Dáil doesn’t have a formal dress code, TDs still have a responsibility to “make an effort”, according to TD Michael Healy Rae.
The US Senate decided today to loosen its dress code, allowing senators to wear whatever they prefer.
This decision has angered many US Republicans, who think the job requires a level of “civility” through formalwear.
Independent TD Michael Healy Rae told The Hard Shoulder he doesn’t think the Dáil requires a formal dress code, but TDs should dress with the same level of respect you dress with at wedding or funeral.
“I'm not saying you need to be suited and booted but the least you can do is put on the best of what you have,” he said.
“If you are fortunate enough to be elected as a representative of your county, the least you can do is put on the best of what you have available.”
Deputy Healy Rae recalled an instance where he saw another TD change his appearance to be perceived in a certain way.
“I happened to be behind a person one day when he was walking into the chamber and of course he didn’t realise there was anyone behind him and what does he do only pull out his shirt, and roll up his sleeves,” he said.
“You’d swear he was going to the bogs.
“What he was doing was putting on the show saying, ‘well here I am, my sleeves are rolled up, I'm for the working man’.”
Deputy Healy Rae said for centuries people have worn the best clothes they can when suitable, even if they had “absolutely nothing”.
“They certainly didn't have a TD’s salary,” he said.
'To each their own'
People Before Profit TD Gino Kenny said people should wear suits in the Dáil if they want, but “to each their own”.
“It's about being relaxed in your own clothes,” he said.
“The Dáil is a workplace – in workplaces you should wear what you feel relaxed in.
“People are more interested in what you do and say rather than what you wear.
“I would never wear a suit in the Dáil - I just wouldn’t feel comfortable... I always wear a shirt."
Deputy Healy Rae said Deputy Kenny’s argument was “well-made” - but sometimes you can’t just wear what you like.
“I have to be honest – one thing I don’t like is wearing a suit,” he said.
“But I feel that to do my job and to represent people, just like a function... rather than dressing yourself down on purpose, you should make an effort.”