Politicians swapping political stage for the catwalk
"It's all about throwing shapes," explained Michelle Mulherin. But the Fine Gael deputy wasn't talking about how one strides the political stage, but how one struts along a catwalk.
The Mayo woman is a veteran of the fashion runway – having taken part in the inaugural Oireachtas Charity Fashion Show last year, Michelle is back for another go this month, along with a sizeable number of her Leinster House colleagues.
Among those taking part in the show in the Shelbourne Hotel on Tuesday next, November 12, are Agriculture Minster Simon Coveney, Jobs Minister Richard Bruton ("a very snappy dresser," according to stylist Marietta Doran who is organising the event alongside Arts Minister Jimmy Deenihan) and Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald, and over 30 TDs from all parties.
These budding Naomi Campbells will be joined on the catwalk by a gaggle of professional models including Rosanna Davison and Roz Purcell, and sports stars such as Bernard Brogan, Brent Pope and Paul Galvin.
Money raised will go to Motor Neurone Disease research; in 2012, Fine Gael TD Nicky McFadden was diagnosed with the disease.
And so yesterday a contingent of wannabe models gathered for a photo-shoot in the Shelbourne Hotel alongside model Holly Carpenter. She was wearing a stunning gown created by Irish designer Claire Garvey, who dressed Nile Rodgers and Chic for 'The X-Factor' last weekend.
Jimmy Deenihan – a man who never quailed once on a football pitch – looked a little nervous as he stood beside the statuesque Holly for a photo.
"Try and look like you're enjoying yourself, Jimmy," cheekily suggested Timmy Dooley. But the wide smile quickly vanished from the Fianna Fail TD's face as he contemplated his own national debut on a catwalk. "I've done a few local shows, but nothing on this scale. I'm bricking it," he confessed.
So what outfit is Timmy planning to wow the crowd with? "I might wear a onesie," he reckoned. Goodness – how will his fellow model and party leader Micheal Martin top that?
A gang of apprehensive fashionistas, including senators Susan O'Keeffe, Eamonn Coghlan, Imelda Henry, Averil Power and Trevor O Clochartaigh, listened as Marietta doled out advice.
"RTE will be there to film it for the 'Six-One News'," she added, as a roomful of politicians instantly resigned themselves to looking like a bunch of eejits on the telly (again).
"Just come to me if any of you need help or a dig-out," said Marietta kindly, while every politician winced.
But it's all for a good cause as Jimmy reminded them. "We're doing it on behalf of Nicky," he said, adding that he had called to see her at her home recently, and "the show is giving her a great lift".
Roscommon TD Denis Naughten is determined to hobble down the runway even though he's nursing a suspected fractured bone in his foot. "I ran my first – and last – marathon and did a bit of damage," he admitted.
Labour's Susan O'Keeffe was more blase than most. Last year she took part in the Dip in the Nip swim fundraiser for cancer research. "I'm the only politician who has taken off all of her clothes for charity," she declared.
One can only hope that none of our politicians get notions next Tuesday. Surely to God we've suffered enough.
Tickets for the show are €50. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or 01 6313806