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Thursday 28 August 2014

Chauffeur-driven Lenihan 'still gets heckled'

Joyce Fegan

Published 08/03/2014 | 02:30

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Conor Lenihan. Picture: Gerry Mooney
Conor Lenihan. Picture: Gerry Mooney

Former Fianna Fail minister Conor Lenihan has a chauffeur-driven job working for the Russian government in Moscow on a €10bn project but he still gets heckled by the public.

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"I had this faint suspicion that there wouldn't be too much sympathy for Fianna Fail ministers after the last election so I sort of high-tailed it out of the country," explained the former TD, who lost his seat in the 2011 election.

Mr Lenihan, brother of the late former Finance Minister Brian Lenihan Jnr, admitted on the 'Late Late Show' last night that his role in Moscow involves a chauffeur, as well as a lot of air travel. He was hired by Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg as vice-president of a Kremlin-backed technology hub that former Trinity provost John Hegarty is also involved in.

Mr Lenihan admitted that he left Ireland just a "few weeks" after the Fianna Fail landslide of 2011 seeking to rebuild his life abroad. "I met a lot of contacts and friends and I did a lot of business in Nigeria," he said.

The former junior minister at the Department of Foreign Affairs is no longer a member of the Fianna Fail party and said he still received grief from Irish people.

"I get the odd shouted comment at me on holidays with the family, saying 'you ruined the country'," stated Mr Lenihan, who also accepted responsibility for the state of the country.

"I'm sorry we let things slip the way they did," admitted the former minister, but he does believe the bank guarantee, which his brother signed, was the correct thing to do.

Mr Lenihan said he was close to his brother and advised him to do interviews around the time of the crash.

Irish Independent

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