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Bid to ban pink, jeans, casual wear in Dail branded pathetic

Proposed new rules forcing TDs to dress smartly in the Dail chamber or face being thrown out have been branded pathetic.

A Dail watchdog has recommended male deputies wear a tailored jacket, collared-shirt and trousers, while women are slightly less restricted in being banned simply from wearing jeans.

Independent TDs Mick Wallace and Luke "Ming" Flanagan, and People Before Profit's Richard Boyd-Barrett will be among those most likely to be affected by the new dress code.

Mr Boyd-Barrett would not be drawn on whether he would abide by the new rules.

"It's pathetic and further evidence that we have a Government of clowns," the Dun Laoghaire TD said.

"The country is drowning in debt, we have half a million people unemployed, we have people facing the loss of their homes and cuts to the most vulnerable, and these clowns are wondering what people wear in the Dail. It's pathetic."

Mr Boyd-Barrett often wears jeans in the Dail chamber and shirts not tucked in, while Mr Flanagan wears his shirts buttoned up to the neck and out over his trousers.

Wexford TD Mick Wallace brings a dash of colour to the chamber with his trademark pink shirts. None of the men wear formal jackets.

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams often takes Leaders' Questions without a jacket and with his sleeves rolled up.

The rules were decided by the Dail's Committee on Procedures and Privileges, which also yesterday banned calls to premium-rate numbers from Leinster House telephones following the "Ring of Kerry" controversy.

It is understood Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett, who chairs the committee, was driving the issue, but of the 10-strong membership just one TD dissented.

Independent Catherine Murphy said: "There was a very strict dress code in Anglo Irish Bank.

"Dress codes don't necessarily mean people do things with the right motivation."

The proposals will be put to the Dail before the summer break at the end of the month.

Mr Boyd-Barrett added: "I hope there is not going to be a situation where somebody who is democratically elected is going to be excluded from the Dail over a trivial question, because that would be a real attack on democracy."