Wednesday 7 December 2016

Little wifey line just doesn't wash

Too many good people worked hard to get women where they are today to throw it away, writes Eilis O'Hanlon

Eilis O'Hanlon

Published 18/12/2011 | 05:00

If a small child comes to court and tells the judge that she didn't know what she was doing when she put her fingerprint on a legal document, most of us would be inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt -- and possibly a lollipop as well. But when a grown woman does the same, she deserves nothing but ridicule and contempt in return. That's certainly what Sean Quinn's wife is getting right now, after the failure of her attempt in the Commercial Court to be let off from repaying a €3m loan on the grounds that she didn't know what she was signing at the time.

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Mr Justice Peter Kelly rejected her claim and ordered Patricia Quinn to repay the full amount to Anglo Irish Bank, plus costs, thus making himself an accidental hero of Irish women everywhere by standing up for the principle that we should take responsibility for our actions and not hide behind our gender as if it is a courtesan's fan.

Mrs Quinn raised some minor quibbles about the legality of the Anglo loan agreement, and moaned a little about how she had received no professional advice prior to signing it; but the thrust of her argument in the Commercial Court last week was that she was only a little wifey and, sure, what would she know about money? All she ever did for 30-odd years was stay at home and cook the dinner and iron Sean's shirts. Of high finance she knew precisely nothing "beyond deciding upon the weekly groceries and providing for the household expenses". Figures simply fluttered about her head like pixies because, as a woman, she didn't have the manly net to catch them.

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