Lise Hand: Mary works some magic as she sinks teeth into job
Honest to God, the deep-seated dysfunction displayed by the North's political family makes 'The Sopranos' look as well-adjusted as 'The Waltons'. The whingeing, finger-pointing, tantrums, strops and partisan pettifoggery had reached such audible levels of cacophonous petulance this week that both Brian Cowen and Gordon Brown felt obligated to strap on their capes and fly northwards in anxious formation to the rescue.
Thus, Tanaiste Mary Coughlan found herself unexpectedly in charge of running the country yesterday while her boss was listening to moany MLAs in Hillsborough Castle.
So it could have been expected that the opposition would be licking its collective chops in anticipation of causing a bit of trouble and having a bit of devilment at the expense of a less-than-sure-footed deputy leader. While the Top Cat's away, and all that.