Oh the wonders of popular culture. A cougar is no longer a sleek beast of prey renowned for its speed and agility. It is, of course, a reference to the US TV series about a 40-something newly divorced woman who has sex with younger men because all the guys her age are "broken, gay or chasing younger girls".

And so, inevitably, a cougar entered the Dáil. Fine Gael TD Noel Coonan's "Ya cougar!" jeer at Joan Burton added another dimension to the roustabout that's turned the Dáil into a chamber of ridicule of a Thursday morning. But for the guys it was all just good clean fun. If you can't stand the heat, they'll say, then stay out of the kitchen, as they elbow each other between sniggers at their clever use of such an apt joke in the context of a woman's complaints.

And anyway, if Joan is going to play the "sexist" card when she complains to the Ceann Comhairle about not getting enough time to waffle on and on and on, then what does she expect?

She could get her revenge by shouting "sexy beast" at one of her male counterparts the next time they try to make a point. But no woman in the Dáil is ever going to engage on that level. And even if they wanted to, they couldn't. "Sexy beasts" are an endangered species around the corridors of power.