THE Government has requested privacy for Finance Minister Brian Lenihan, after reports that he has been diagnosed with cancer.
TV3 reported on Saturday that Mr Lenihan had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer following his recent admission to the Mater Hospital in Dublin for tests.
Mr Lenihan had been feeling unwell around the time of the budget and it was originally believed that he was being treated for a suspected hernia.
Neither the Government nor the Department of Finance is commenting on Mr Lenihan’s health.
On Saturday, the department said Mr Lenihan was enjoying Christmas with his family and would not be making any comment on any matter until the new year.
The Government press office refused to comment, saying Mr Lenihan’s health was a personal matter.
That remained unchanged last night, with the department saying no further comment would be forthcoming during the Christmas holiday.
The department also requested privacy for the minister.
“All we’re asking now is that he has privacy,” the spokesperson said.
Mr Lenihan has won praise from several quarters for his handling of the Finance brief after a rocky start in the department.
This year, he has successfully pushed through two austere budgets as well as the legislation to establish NAMA, the state agency that will relieve the banks of their higher risk loans.
Mr Lenihan turned 50 earlier this year and is married to Circuit Court judge Patricia Ryan. The couple have two children.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved