Coughlan lost her Donegal South West seat in the Dáil in this year’s General Election as the two candidate strategy of Fianna Fail backfired.
But the Donegal politician – nicknamed Sweary Mary by the Dáil sketch hacks – was perceived by many as being a weak link in the most unpopular Government in the history of the State.
Ms Coughlan spent nine years in Cabinet and held five separate ministerial portfolios.
And she was often the target of horrible attacks by the Dublin media.
But not everyone was convinced of Ms Coughlan’s alleged failings – and then US Ambassador Thomas C Foley was glowing in his praise.
According to Wikileaks reports in the Irish Independent today, Mr Foley wrote in 22 July 2008 that she was “bright and capable … an intelligent, young and energetic Irish leader.”
He went on: “She clearly understands the issues and appears able to hold her own in the rough-and-tumble world of labour, business enterprise and trade.”
Foley, who served as the United States’ Ambassador to Ireland between 2006 and 2009, was also largely positive about Brian Cowen.
Today a source close to Ms Coughlan said she was ‘delighted’ with the report and said it was ‘a poke in the eye’ to Dublin media who bashed her ‘because she is a woman from Donegal’.Tags: