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Ex teacher Mary should go back to driving school

IT looks like former principal Mary Mitchell O'Connor needs to go back to school - driving school that is.

The newly elected blonde TD has certainly ruled herself out of the running -- or driving -- for a job as transport minister.

In a moment of Herbie-style madness she careered up the Leinster House plinth and down the steps to ensure she made an immediate impact.

The Dun Laoghaire representative is one of just 23 women to secure a Dail seat but on day one she did a disservice to female drivers everywhere.

Stunned security staff could only look on in bemusement as the red Hyundai Coupe took flight.

Worse still, her blushes were caught by waiting TV crews who would ordinarily have been situated on the central walkway but luckily happened to be outside the gates yesterday.

As a result they've even given Ms Mitchell O'Connor her very own gate at Leinster House -- plinthgate.

The incident sparked a series of jokes and even Fine Gael colleagues couldn't resist a giggle at the expense of the former principal of Glasthule National School

New Dublin Central TD Paschal Donohoe said: "I actually saw plinthgate occur. Saw a red car go by a colleague's shoulder. The rest, my friends, is history."

Afterwards a stunned Ms Mitchell O'Connor said she felt "very silly".

"It was like the first day at school. I feel like I fell flat on my face," laughed the teacher-turned-TD.

"I am very sorry. I am a safe driver. I've never crashed in 30 years. I do feel silly."

She revealed she received several messages from people on the matter.

The one that stood out was the woman who commiserated with her misfortune before signing off: 'Go n-éirí an bóthar leat', which translates as: May the road rise to meet you.

kdoyle@herald.ie