President leads mourners from worlds of politics, law and finance

PRESIDENT Mary McAleese and her husband, Senator Martin McAleese, led the mourners at Brian Lenihan’s removal last night.

Hundreds of people from the worlds of politics, law, finance, the arts and more, attended the service at the small church of St Mochta’s in Porterstown, Dublin 15.

With the church quickly filling to capacity, speakers were set up to allow the many gathered outside to listen to the service.

Officiating were Fr Eugene Kennedy, a retired priest and close friend of the family; Fr John Daly, the current parish priest in St Mochta’s; and Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin.

Fianna Fáil TDs past and present, led by party leader Micheál Martin, formed a guard of honour as Mr Lenihan’s remains were brought into the church.

The coffin, draped in the Tricolour, was carried from the hearse to the church by a bearer party drawn from the 2nd Eastern Brigade Military Police Company, led by Sgt Donal Howe.

Fr Kennedy said Mr Lenihan, who was just 52 when he died of pancreatic cancer on Friday, had been “a great young man”.

He extended deepest sympathies to Mr Lenihan’s family — wife Patricia Ryan, son Tom and daughter Claire, his brothers Conor, Niall and Paul, his sister Anita, and his mother Ann.

“Mothers don’t expect to bury their children, do they?” Fr Kennedy asked sadly.

Following the Gospel reading, Fr Kennedy paid tribute to Mr Lenihan, saying he was “very much part of our community, our place. In a way, we felt we had proprietorial rights over him. We are deeply indebted to a man who always had care and concern for us... even when he was burdened by major national issues, and lately by his failing health.”

Archbishop Martin read a prayer by Cardinal John Henry Newman which was one of Mr Lenihan’s favourites.

Among those present at the service were former taoisigh Brian Cowen, Bertie Ahern and Albert Reynolds (FF) and Liam Cosgrave (FG).

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore and Minister Joan Burton, a constituency colleague of Mr Lenihan, represented Labour. Minister Phil Hogan, Government chief whip Paul Kehoe and junior minister Brian Hayes (FG) were present, as was Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett.

Chief Justice John Murray led the members of the judiciary, which included Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, Mrs Justice Fidelma Macken, Mr Justice Paul Gilligan, Mr Justice George Birmingham, Mr Justice Frank Clarke, former attorney general Paul Gallagher and others.

Also present were former tánaistí Des O’Malley and Michael McDowell (PDs), and former ministers Batt O’Keeffe, Mary Hanafin, Pat Carey and Joe Walsh (FF), John Gormley (GP) and Nora Owen and Alan Dukes (FG).

EU Commissioner Máire Geogheghan-Quinn was present, as was former commissioner Charlie McCreevy (FF).

Also present were former Central Bank governor John Hurley, ICTU general secretary David Begg, and Law Society director general Ken Murphy.

Mr Lenihan’s former economics adviser, Alan Ahearne, and special adviser, Kathy Herbert, were also in attendance, as was economist Colm McCarthy, who had also worked closely with him.

Broadcasters Henry Kelly and Olivia O’Leary were present. The RTÉ Authority chair Tom Savage also attended.

Flags at Government Buildings will fly at half mast today and Dáil business has been suspended until tomorrow as a mark of respect for Mr Lenihan.

The former finance minister’s funeral will take place at 11am this morning at St Mochta’s, followed by private burial at St David’s church graveyard in Kilsallaghan.

An online book of condolence will remain open on the Fianna Fáil website until the end of the week and has already been signed by 25,000 people.

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