Colette Fitzpatrick: Is a secret stash really worse than cheating?

Colette Fitzpatrick

I WAS surprised to hear this week that one in 10 Irish people has a secret bank account with money stashed in it that their partners don't know about. Thought it would be more like five in 10. As in half the population; the female half.

The research revealed that women are, in fact, more likely than men to keep a secret account for security in case of a break-up with their partner. Call it savings. Call it secret. Call it security. In my book, it's called running away money.

And we're not talking peanuts here. More than a third of women admitted that their secret stash of lolly had more than f5,000 in it. We're not the only culture to have this notion of a secret stash. Japanese wives have traditionally squirrelled away cash known as "bellybutton money" or Hesokuri.

But surveys have found that the recession is having a huge effect on these savings with the cash more likely to be used to meet bills that needed to paid weeks ago.

If you're not financially hamstrung, the dough can bankroll a weekend away with your sister and mother at a spa. Be careful not to let the cat out of the proverbial though. Men surveyed said they were more likely to find financial infidelity harder to forgive than sexual infidelity. Do feel free, it seems, to make a bad decision on a night out.

Maybe that's what all those offshore accounts that Charlie Haughey had, were all about. Sure, it was his running away money. I take it he was above board with all the women in his life about those.

That road to power stuff wasn't meant to be taken literally, Mary

We'll see your Baby On Board signs and raise you the latest political version -- Fine Gaeler On Board, Pump The Brakes. Or what about, Dun Laoghaire Deputy Behind The Wheel, Best Not To Tailgate.

Fine Gaelers don't do car pooling. If they did, newly elected Mary Mitchell O'Connor would be their least-favoured colleague to ride shotgun with.

As a school principal, she's doubtless witnessesd many memorable first days. Mary surely never imagined though, that her first foray into the national psyche would be as the politician who, on her big first day in Leinster House, decided to do a little off-roading down the plinth.

Was that the soundtrack to the Italian Job I heard in the background? Nope. It was the theme music to Top Gear.


They were filming the bit where two people with different modes of transport have to race to reach the seat of political power. One drives through the gates and parks in a marked parking spot. The other, in a Roscommon reg 03 Honda, decides that while they might not be flash, these wheels are as reliable as the middle-class vote.

And so Mary pulled on her boy-racer pants, opened her up and mowed down the steps. I think she may also have gone up the steps on the other side too.

At least the jalopy she's driving tells us she's not suffering a mid-life crisis.

Be honest Mary. Were you pulling the old "Officer, I didn't know it wasn't a through road" number? Or did you actually think you could legitimately joyride through the plinth? Were you that eager to get on YouTube?

Perhaps Mary didn't have her satnav on. Maybe she was blatantly ignoring the Turn Back Now warnings. Or maybe she wanted to vindicate the new EU ruling about women not having cheaper insurance. Or was she was making the case for garda drivers for ordinary deputies as well as ministers?

She's not alone with her poor sense of direction though. A research study this week found that gay men share a similarly poor sense of direction to straight women. Both apparently rate low at navigating and rely on local landmarks to get around. Both also find it more difficult than heterosexual men to take in spatial information.

Meanwhile, I'm only surprised Mary didn't just roll down the window and ask for directions. Isn't it men who usually go miles out of their way rather than ask for help?

To be fair, Mary was self- deprecating enough to go on Today FM, take a slagging and admit that she had an optician's appointment the following day. "It really was a 'should've gone to SpecSavers' moment," she said. Let's just hope she's not given the transport portfolio.

No mean feat on Ryanair

WHAT about loudmouth Michael O'Leary crashing a Dublin Airport Authority press conference and promptly putting his feet up on the couch?

It's probably unfair to say you or I would be thrown off a Ryanair flight for the same behaviour. Fact is, we'd probably just be charged extra -- though you'd need to be a contortionist to bend your knees that far.