Sinn Féin councillors will not be wearing the ceremonial robes traditionally worn by councillors at the first meeting of the new council tomorrow.
The party’s three councillors - Anna Marley, Mairéad Farrell, and Cathal Ó Conchúir - are refusing to wear the robes on the basis that they cost up to €800 to make for a new councillor, and that this expense is not justifiable in the current economic climate.
Cllr Marley said it would be “financially irresponsible for any councillor to ask the taxpayer to fork out hundreds of euro for a ceremonial robe”.
Three new gowns will be needed as the council has expanded from 15 seats to 18. However SF says that money should instead “be ringfenced and donated towards community and arts groups in each ward of the city.”
The party also feels, according to Cllr Farrell, “we were elected by the people for the people we should not make ourselves look distinct from them.”
It is understood that all other councillors will wear the robes. However Fine Gael councillor Pearce Flannery has described the garments as “ridiculous in the 21st century” and said they have “no place in an equal society”.
He said he will wear the robes for the first meeting “out of respect for the tradition” but will not wear them on any other occasion when councillors are expected to don the red and purple gown, such as when reviewing the St Patrick’s Day Parade.