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Contrary Mary needs to keep cool when boys come out to play

Tanaiste Mary Coughlan publicly accusing Fine Gael justice spokesman Charles Flanagan of sexism, during sharp exchanges in the Dail some days ago, when he asked Ms Coughlan about the progress of legislation reforming company law made me want to stick my fingers down my throat.

Ms Coughlan responded that: "There is ongoing work."

To which Mr Flanagan said: "It is too big for the Minister."

At this point the toys came out of the pram -- very undignified in a place of work it has to be said -- and the Tanaiste decided her challenger was being sexist.

So what if he was. She should have kept her mouth shut because she played right in to his hands. Another huge mistake for the most powerful woman in the country.

It reminded me of another story reported in the Herald last week; a piece by Terry Prone related to the stories that Gordon Brown is a bully.


Anyway, below is the email exchange between myself and one of my favourite Herald girls. Sorry, I hope that last remark wasn't sexist. I should probably have said Herald columnist.

Terry, your bullying piece is brilliant in today's Herald (Tuesday, February 23). People need to grow up. I hate the word stress, too. Both words should be banned. D

Dee, you've no idea how welcome your kind note is. And as for "stress" and the people who need hot stones put on them to cure it. Puhlease! Tess

Yep -- I'm a build a bridge and get over it girl. D

Question is why are people like you so bloody rare? Tess

Mainly 'cause most people don't have any balls. D

And aren't as funny so briefly. Tess

The truth is that strong women will always pose a threat in the workplace. But strong women will not, under any circumstances, react to the kind of childish goading that Mary Coughlan gave into. If you do not play, you cannot lose.

What Mary Coughlan and other women in powerful positions should do is what their contract stipulates -- get the job done.