Leinster House is a sombre place these days, so it was almost a shock yesterday to encounter a splash of vivid colour and a quartet of politicians from different parties who were happy to pose together for a photograph.
But then fashion has a habit of uniting women of all stripes, particularly if it's allied to a good cause.
Senators Ivana Bacik, Fiona O'Malley, Deirdre de Burca and Geraldine Feeney are among a number of politicians who have donated their favourite dress to the upcoming Buy My Dress auction in aid of the Down Syndrome Centre.
Ireland's largest one-day dress sale of up to 1,000 donated frocks will take place on Thursday, June 11, at 6 Kildare Street in Dublin city centre.
As well as the four senators, dresses have been given by Tanaiste Mary Coughlan and Social Affairs Minister Mary Hanafin, Senator Frances Fitzgerald, and a host of TV personalities including 'Fair City' actresses Sorcha Furlong, Hilda Fay and Celia Murphy.
Before handing over their dresses, the four women braved the chilly day to model their own frocks.
Fiona bought her red-and-white Diane von Furstenburg dress on eBay, and Dublin Central candidate Ivana's silver Quin & Donnelly shift dress was a present to herself for her 40th birthday. "I've only worn it once," she explained.
Geraldine's black and white dress was bought in Marbella, and Deirdre's red shirt-dress was a gift from her mother. "It's too short for me," she reckoned, tugging at the hemline.
Even passers-by stopped to watch the women as they happily threw shapes for the camera on Kildare Street.
After all, the sound of merriment emanating from Leinster House is as rare as a job vacancy advertisement in these grim times.