There's no doubt that as political bruisers go our Tánaiste Mary Harney takes some beating.
What an extraordinary political week it has been. The backdrop to the desultory by-election campaigns in Kildare and Meath has illustrated, if illustration were ever needed, the sheer mediocrity of our public services and political classes.
It has been a truly remarkable week in the judicial life of Britain.
When Ian Paisley first appeared on the street corners of the North in the 1960s, the Northern poet WD Rodgers, a former Presbyterian clergyman, wrote a wonderfully bitter and ironic poem about him entitled Home Thoughts From Abroad.