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Hail Marys...the enduring women of Irish politics

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Mary Robinson

Mary Robinson

Mary O'Rourke pictured for Waking Hours.  Picture;  Gerry Mooney.  4/4/14

Mary O'Rourke pictured for Waking Hours. Picture; Gerry Mooney. 4/4/14

Mary Harney

Mary Harney

Mary Lou McDonald

Mary Lou McDonald

Mary McAleese

Mary McAleese

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Mary Robinson

As Will Hanafin spends some time with Tanaiste Joan Burton we look at some other iconic female figures in Irish politics

1 Mary Robinson

Welcome to this list of political icons. A quick scan through it will show you the golden rule. It helps if your first name is Mary. (Particularly if you are a woman. We're not sure if it applies to men. Give it a try!) This Mary gives her name to The Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice. Unfortunately, this is not a hotline you can ring to complain if the weather forecast was all wrong and your barbecue was ruined. But it's about time someone did something for the victims there.

2 Mary O'Rourke

Gaybo is the nation's uncle. Mary is the nation's mammy. And then there's the nation's sofa. That was the one we dived behind when Mary talked about losing her virginity on an RTE documentary last year. Merciful hour. There are two things we don't want to hear from the mammy. One is how she got shut of her cherry. The other is that, in fact, she wasn't fine all those evenings alone in the dark when we were out enjoying ourselves. Oh Jesus, the guilt.

3 Mary Harney

Mary caused controversy when she said that Ireland is closer to Boston than Berlin. A lot of the flak came from geographers. They take everything literally. Others said we would be much better off under the German model. Insert lewd joke about Heidi Klum here, and make a run for it before the feminists figure out what's going on. You don't hear much from the "be like the Germans" brigade these days. Our guess is they emigrated. To Boston.

4 Mary McAleese

Funny name, McAleese. It sounds like something she got on a long-term loan from Paul McCartney. Macca Lease? No. Have a glass of wine and read it again. See? (Please drink responsibly.) Mary wrote to the Pope, asking how many of the 150 bishops tasked with advising him on family matters had ever changed a nappy. Ooh, that's a bit tricky. Our guess is he didn't ask around on that one. Senior clergy fathering kids? Sure, it could happen to a bishop.

5 Mary Lou McDonald

Mary Lou is considered one of the best operators in the Dail. Of course she has a rare skill, what with her being able to stand and think at the same time. In Leinster House, that is as thin on the ground as a wrestling match between two supermodels. Mary Lou is one of the new breed of Sinn Feiners who had nothing to do with the armed struggle. Except, of course, her first name is double-barrelled. Nice link there to 'fund-raising'.

Sunday Indo Life Magazine