‘Mammy of the Dáil’ recalls loss of Lenihan in her memoir

Former minister Mary O’Rourke writes candidly about her political, family, and personal life in her memoirs which were last night launched by Mary McAleese, the former president.

In the book, Ms O’Rourke describes life as a woman in the male world of politics, the sexism she sometimes had to deal with, and the difficulties of balancing her busy career with raising a family.

The former TD and deputy leader of Fianna Fáil also talks candidly about the characters she worked with, many of whom defined an era, including Charlie Haughey, Garret FitzGerald, Pádraig Flynn, and Bertie Ahern.

Just Mary, also details Ms O’Rourke’s struggle to have children and her battle with post-natal depression.

Often referred to as the ‘Mammy of the Dáil’ by peers, Ms O’Rourke has spoken openly about the loss of her nephew, the late Brian Lenihan Jr, who died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 52.

Mrs O’Rourke writes movingly about her final conversation with him in her autobiography, which goes on sale today.

In the memoir, which is published by Gill & Macmillan, the 75-year- old speaks about the loss of the former finance minister as well as the deaths of her beloved husband, Enda, and her brothers, Brian and Paddy.

Mrs O’Rourke says the period after her nephew, Brian, received his diagnosis, echoed the grief she had experienced following the death of her husband Enda.

“I felt alone. I felt bereft. I felt as if life was coming to an end,” she writes.

She also reflects on key events in her working life, which include her late brother Brian Lenihan’s bid for the presidency, and the Eircom sell-off.

She also remembers the infamous ‘St Valentine’s Day Massacre’ when Albert Reynolds took power, as well as party tensions in the run-up to the most recent election, when she lost her seat.

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