‘Ming’ dresses down Ceann Comhairle over teased children

Independent TD Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan has blamed Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett for the fact his children are being teased over the way he dresses.

The issue led to a heated row between Mr Flanagan and Mr Barrett in the Dáil yesterday, with the latter briefly suspending business in the chamber.

The suspension came after Mr Flanagan urged the Ceann Comhairle to “desist talking about me” and “insulting me in the national media”.

As Mr Barrett ruled Mr Flanagan was out of order, and other TDs heckled, Mr Flanagan kept talking: “I am asking you to desist from making comments about the way I dress and other members of the House dress to the national media. This morning I got a call from my wife to tell me that... my children are being teased.”

With Mr Flanagan continuing to speak, the Ceann Comhairle briefly suspended the House.

Mr Flanagan later told News-talk the problem stemmed from comments made by Mr Barrett to the Irish Independent.

“Over the last couple of weeks, I have seen a situation whereby certain not-very-nice children have decided to have a go at my children over the way that I dress. Now, look it, they’ll get over it, but the reality is the root of this problem is what I would call a very unprofessional Ceann Comhairle making statements to the national media about the way people dress in the Dáil,” Mr Flanagan said.

In the newspaper interview, Mr Barrett said that since he had entered the Dáil in the 1980s, it had always been accepted that men wore a jacket and business shirt, and “at one stage a tie”.

He referred to the fact that the current Dáil committee overseeing standards had recommended “a jacket and a tailored shirt, in other words a collar, and there would be no denims”.

Mr Barrett did not name any individual and later took issue with the paper for linking his comments to Mr Flanagan and another TD, Mick Wallace.

But Mr Flanagan said it was “obvious” to whom the Ceann Comhairle had been referring in the interview.

There is no detailed dress code in the Dáil, merely a requirement that “members should dress in a manner that reflects the dignity of the House”.


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