Well folks, this is probably the hill that I’m going to tumble down, but I’m going to climb it anyway and say it’s about feckin’ time the Dáil sat down, discussed, and decided upon a suitable dress code!
Now while this matter may seem trivial in the grand scheme of things and while the whole Dáil Committee on procedure sound like a fun gang – I’ll try to pace myself when reading their thrilling codes of practice, if a report is ever released – the fact is, it always has been my opinion that ‘Leisure Wear Wednesday’ and ‘Dress Down Friday,’ are clearly looks that, unless you’re playing sports, are working out in the gym, or are an extra on Fair City, should never be earmarked at the front of your wardrobe as satisfactory, custom made, ‘go to’ business wear.
Let me spell it out for you readers, there is absolutely no call for any public figure, male or female, rockin’ in to work to represent the electorate looking like a slobby ragamuffin or by giving those who voted for them the impression they’re taking style advice from Rab C Nesbitt! Dressing appropriately for certain jobs/situations/occasions/positions is not about snobbery, it’s about respect, it’s about dignity, it’s about applying and adopting a professional blueprint for yourself.
Look, I’m no Gok Wan and I’m not pointing the finger at anyone, but ahem, now we’re on the subject, I have to call out to Wexford TD Mick Wallace, who I’m sure is a capable professional and a lovely gent, but who rather puts me in mind of a boyband reject, and I’m sorry Mick, while you are clearly not in any way, in the words of a Wheatus song, “a teenage dirt bag baby”, I have to ask, why is it that you appear to favour dressing like one, pet?
I raise this question given those two obsessions regarding the unswerving fashion passion for the faded, wrinkled pink polo shirt and the soccer jersey, and a penchant for what appears to be a determination to flout the Dáil’s custom and practice, which is to request that members “dress in a manner which reflects the dignity and decorum of the House.” You see, maybe I’m old school, but I like to save the thrown together look for when I’m off duty.
Look, like it or not, professional attire matters! End of. And while some TDs/public figures appear to be vastly skilled at getting more attention for their casual clobber, the truth is, they represent us; the Irish people, and dressing appropriately doesn’t diminish their ability whatsoever to do their job, nor does it in any way prune or serve to shrink their quirky individualities or personalities. I feel it’s an insult to try and make us believe that using street grunge, (naming no names here) to hoodwink us into thinking they oppose the very system that they do in fact actively participate in, and by the way, are happy to draw the large salaries from; is offensive and wounding to our intelligence! Look, you’re a political product, otherwise you wouldn’t have sought office, and now that you’re elected…act and dress the part! I mean, if our TDs are going to lecture us on our own obligations then they at least should start dressing like leaders and stop looking like they’ve spent the morning rummaging through a neighbour’s skip!
It’s not about aesthetic authoritarian beliefs, it’s not about adults having to be told what to do; I mean I’m not your parent! What it is about is knowing that your public persona is reflected in your public attire, and this matters greatly when you’re representing my country and me on the world stage. It’s about being respectful enough to both yourself and to your constituents, it’s about extending our country’s brand, which is, ready and willing to do business and not ‘good to go busking on a street corner’ or ‘prepared to clear out the garden shed.’ Mind you if you need to be told this, perhaps you do need a parent, or at the very least, a stylist!
Martin McGuinness: The man who walked a political tightrope
According to former US President Barack Obama, former Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, (who sadly passed away last week) “was instrumental in turning the page on a past of violence and conflict that he knew all too well.” And indeed, while it will be extremely difficult for some listening to and reading all of the tributes and accolades, and while I do not wish to be insensitive in any way to any readers; the fact is, Martin McGuinness, (who was actually christened James Pacelli), was a man who played a major role in gaining peace on our island.
I’m sad that like my hero Michael Collins, I never got to meet Mr. McGuinness, because I cannot help but find similarities between the pair. Like Collins, McGuinness undertook a remarkable journey in his own personal life and the boy from the Bogside turned into the Statesman who walked a political tightrope and realised nobody can bomb and murder their way to peace. He was Sinn Fein’s chief negotiator during the 1998 Good Friday Peace Agreement, which ended the violence, secured the IRA arms decommissioning, and the sharing of Government with former adversaries in Belfast as Deputy First Minister.
Martin McGuinness never denied his IRA membership or activities, saying he was “proud that I was a member of the IRA.” I believe, but I could be wrong, that the shooting dead of two Catholics by soldiers one day in Londonderry, (Derry) saw him become an IRA activist. He explained: “We found ourselves in a situation where the British Army and the RUC were on our streets murdering our citizens.”
However, while most associate Martin McGuinness’ path with reconciliation as having begun in the ‘90s, it’s a fact that his first attempt at peace-making was in 1972, where, as part of a seven-member IRA delegation, he travelled to meet the then Northern Ireland Secretary of State, William Whitelaw. History tells us the process was unsuccessful.
Whatever way you remember Martin McGuinness, and while there’ll always be a conflict in trying to get the balance right – and I’m not trying to glorify him – nobody can deny he died a brilliant leader and strategist; and like The Big Fella, Martin died a man who made history and forged strong bonds with former enemies. He was a remarkable man who championed peace when all around told him the prospect of attaining such a thing seemed elusive. May he RIP.
Labour pains…the ugly truth!
As that wayward maverick of the mediocre melody Ronan Keating last week described pregnant wife Storm as “a real Earth Mother,” who has “that natural ability and connection,” to be a mammy, I feel I have to set him straight. Wait ‘till she’s fully dilated and moved from gas-induced delirium to pelvic ripping, ‘me lady bits are splittin’…you did this to me,’ freak show! Ah yeah, Ro Ro, let’s see how ‘earthy’ she is then… I’d book the epidural now…for yourself!