Monday 26 February 2018

Fine Gael revolt over ‘Downton Abbey’ protocol for Dail staff

Paul Bradford and Lucinda Creighton reporters

A BID to have Fine Gael TDs, Senators and their staff adopt a formal protocol for addressing each other in Dail Eireann has provoked the ire of one blue blood representative.

Leinster House is not Downton Abbey said Senator Paul Bradford in response to a direction to address parliamentarians correctly.

An email sent following a Fine Gael staff information meeting instructed members: “Staff are at liberty to use first name terms, if appropriate, within offices. However, in the public areas of the House staff should address members with their correct title (Deputy/Senator) as they may be in the company of businesspeople/constituents/representatives of public/private organisations.”

Former Cork East TD Mr Bradford, who is married to Minister of State Lucinda Creighton, was not best pleased, according to a report in today’s Irish Times.

He replied: “I appreciate that Downton Abbey has become a must-see TV drama for many, but I was rather surprised that its last century ethos appears set to invade the parliamentary party.

“I am referring of course to the ‘Good Morning Deputy, Hello Senator’ regulations which have been outlined. I’d like staff to know that I can always be addressed on first name terms as I have been during all my years in Leinster House,” he said.

“A simple Paul is good enough for me.”

Mr Bradford went on to say that at a time “when our party is challenged by the gravest economic crisis in history, our message and image should be one of co-operation and togetherness throughout society and not a return to the practice of Upstairs Donwstairs”.

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