The sight of Richard Bruton in his swimming togs as an "internet sensation" gives a whole new meaning to the concept of 'new politics' and 'pressing the flesh'.
To be fair, the 67-year-old - who has been flexing his muscles as Fine Gael's answer to Daniel Craig - looks remarkably well toned, especially when we've always considered him the buttoned-up younger brother, the one who keeps his money in a purse and would regard two pints of Smithwick's a heavy night out.
But Little Richard has dived right into a new role, displaying a 'beach bod' to die for after emerging in togs and trendy blue goggles from "a dip in Dollymount" as part of a promo for the joys of his north Dublin coastal constituency.
It wasn't quite a 'dip in the nip', but the Oxford-educated, Meath-born TD - who now lives in deepest Drumcondra - emerged from Dublin Bay as an internet pin-up.
Over the years it has been noted that whenever there were troubled political waters, Richard was sent in to calm the storm. Well versed in whatever was the controversy of the day, he was always quick to steady the ship of state.
But when the ministerial jobs were handed out in the new administration, Bruton was thrown overboard after 26 years on and off at the captain's table. Instead he's had to settle for the dubious post of chairman of the Fine Gael parliamentary party.
Then suddenly he comes literally swimming back into the national psyche, displaying those picture-perfect pecs. The 'Younger Brut' - as he's still known - strides from the surf subliminally setting down a marker that, although he's been shunted into the political backwaters, he hasn't sunk without trace.
OK, it wasn't quite a Putin-style pose... that requires a high-powered rifle and a dead animal. But it certainly gives his boss Leo, who disported himself in the Phoenix Park in the early days of lockdown, something to think about before he takes his shirt off again. And Micheál Martin, who has also done the swimming thing, may even have to think twice before showing off his chest rug at the Christmas swim.
Richard also did a bit of cycling, bought himself a lump of monkfish and looked kind of officious gazing out to sea, dressed in a powder blue linen jacket. But then, what was just an ordinary tourism promo for the joys of a Government-subsidised stay-at-home break, became turbo-charged when he went bare-chested into the water.
Suddenly the unlikely pin-up was one of the most sought-after searches on the Irish internet.
Fully dressed Richard almost looks weedy. You'd never take him for the son of a wealthy farmer - and whatever accent he had growing up in Dunboyne has largely been eradicated by sojourns at Belvo, Clongowes and Oxford.
But when he strips down to the togs he shows an unlikely side that has raised the national temperature and given new hope to men of a certain age that 'you too can have a body like mine'.
Maybe Richard should have done it earlier. Had the Irish electorate only realised what was going on under the white shirt, there might have been a national clamour to keep him in the Cabinet.
When Richard was telling us that Howth was "the jewel in the crown" of north Dublin, little did we realise he was hiding something of a jewel amid the pot-bellies we usually associate with the front-bench Alpha-males of Leinster House.
If Fine Gael still has some form of what used to be called 'National Handlers' - the shadowy figures in smoke-free back rooms - they must have danced a jig at seeing Richard cutting a swathe through the online world, a juicy bit of click-bait sweeping ministerial pay, perks and Mercs off the agenda.
Who knew the sheer political power of a summer swim!