Belfast born fashion designer Christopher O'Reilly designed these two dresses to mark the first ever Miss Ulster finals. It is an image that should have as much resonance in politics as it does in fashion; even now, 30 years after the height of the troubles, it is rare to see the Union Jack and the Tricolour side by side unless in a quest to intimidate the other.
It isn't hard to understand why people would consider Stormont to be an inappropriate setting, given that fashion and beauty pageants seem somewhat frivolous compared to the serious political affairs that take place in the Parliament buildings. Yet surely any event that brings Northern Irish politics to the forefront in a positive manner can only be good? Stormont is representative of a harmonious Northern Ireland, but we all know that that harmony is more often than not an ideal rather than a reality. A major path to finding peace is believing in it, and the only way everyone will believe in it is to be reminded that it is possible, so using a beauty pageant to remind ourselves that our goal for a peaceful community is attainable is certainly no bad thing. The only problem I can see is the state of those dresses.