Friday 27 April 2018

'Charlie was very good with women' - Mary O'Rourke raises a chuckle at women in motoring conference

Eddie Cunningham

Eddie Cunningham

Former Fianna Fail Minister Mary O’Rourke raised laughter and applause at the SIMI’s women-in-motoring conference yesterday when she said: “Charlie Haughey was very good with women.”

When the laughter subsided she moved quickly to clarify. “I’m really sorry – that’s not the way I meant it.”

She explained that the former Taoiseach was “supportive of women in cabinet and all round”.

She said when she was in power she “never felt any different around the Cabinet table”.

She said: “There was no difference. I was no lesser a being because I was elected.”

And she said Mr Haughey had helped make that possible.

During the conference, SIMI president Mark Boggan said that women are under-represented in the motoring industry despite the rise in jobs and opportunities for them in the improving business sector - and said that has to change.

He said they were role models and hoped they would help others take up careers in the industry - from technicians to salespeople.

SIMI Honorary Treasurer Rowena Dooley said studies showed women can sell more cars than men because they are more 'empathetic'.

But she warned that women buyers have been put off by the approach of salesmen and did not enjoy the experience of trying to buy a car.

Interesting fact too from Ms Dooley's extensive range of studies from across the globe: It takes a woman 17 weeks to go through the purchasing process - three weeks longer than men.

Women also look for different things in a car - such as safety and child-friendly elements.

PayPal executive Louise Phelan said the big challenge for women in business is to get a decent life-balance but they should not be put off by that. She said women tend to shy away from applying for bigger roles because one element of the job description doesn't suit. She had a blunt message for them.

"Just go for it," she urged.

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