Lenihan deserves respect for taking tough decisions

It will be a year tomorrow since Brian Lenihan died at the young age of 52 of pancreatic cancer.

There are very few national political figures who will receive the huge reaction of sympathy and respect as he did last year.

Some 9,000 people signed the book of condolence at his Dublin constituency office, with thousands more signing in Athlone, where his late father Brian Lenihan Snr and he came from.

In death, I think Brian Lenihan crossed divides as he did in life, when he chose the pretty, rural, Protestant St Mortho’s Church in the north of Co Dublin for his Catholic funeral and resting place in the adjacent cemetery.

His choice maybe shouldn’t have surprised, as in his TD clinic office he had a framed poster of the 1798 United Irishmen, whose motto was a united Ireland for Catholic, Protestant, and dissenter alike.

And in life he crossed other divides when he accepted an invitation to give an oration at the annual commemoration for General Michael Collins at Beal na Blath in Co Cork in August 2010. A first invitation to a FF government minister or anyone from FF.

The organisers believed that it was fitting to invite a senior Fianna Fáil figure, who was respected for his work in saving the banking system and battling a serious illness at the same time.

If he had a failing, it was his absolute loyalty to Fianna Fáil. He stood with them as the party went into freefall, when it deservedly lost heavily in the 2011 general election. Brian managed to retain the one seat in Dublin for FF, the only Dublin FF TD to do so. This meant a lot to him.

I like to think that he and his late FF ministerial colleague Seamus Brennan, who also died of cancer, a year or two before him, were respected by many in and outside their party, for their sense of decency and good form.

M Sullivan

College Road


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