In Ireland political correctness has just run amok.

The Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan has announced he will institute a rule that 30 per cent of all election candidates must be women.

Parties who refuse to follow that edict will lose half of their state funding.

If you had a prize for the stupidest idea from Ireland this would win.

What next that 30 per cent of midwives must be men?

Or perhaps 30 per cent of miners must be women?

Gender gaps cannot be solved by edicts.

The notion that perfectly capable men must stand aside while a token woman must be chosen goes against the very essence of democracy,

Imagine the outrage if a similar law was introduced into teaching where the vast majority are women?

It would be wrong there, and it is wrong in any professions.

Women themselves should reject this. It means their accomplishments will be devalued rather than appreciated.

Two of the best politicians of the modern era were Mary Robinson and Mary McAleese who were both elected president.

Mary Harney was elected Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Health.

She was a very talented and tough politician too who got nothing handed to her.

That's is the way it should be in life. There are no shortcuts and attempts to create them inevitably fail.

The incompetent men who ran Ireland into the ground in the past decade should be replaced,

But not by token women who will fail to earn any respect if they have not come up the hard and fair way.

In America, women like Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin take their share of abuse and condescension.

But imagine what that abuse would be like if they had gotten into power because of a quota system?

This is really a very stupid idea by this new Irish government showing its first signs of badly over-reaching.