PARLIAMENTARY standards, it seems, are slipping badly. There has been a marked drop in Dail contributions in recent months with swearing and slang terms being used in the chamber.
One which attracted banner headlines saw a Green TD twice using a four-letter epithet against a Labour member, for which he later apologised.
Another, less publicised incident, saw one Fine Gael deputy shout out "Who's the cougar?" after a visiting Australian female parliamentarian was introduced to the Dail.
Even the Taoiseach had to apologise after Dail microphones picked up a private remark.
Now a new code of conduct is being drawn up by the Oireachtas Committee on Procedures and Privileges. An overhaul of procedures and stricter controls on mobile phone and laptop use is on the cards.
It's a sad state of affairs when our parliamentarians need to be told what is unparliamentary language.