Tuesday 6 December 2016

John Drennan: Farewell to the last Fianna Fail aristocrat

Brian Lenihan died as he had always lived -- serving his country to the best of his ability, writes John Drennan

Published 12/06/2011 | 05:00

BORN POLITICIAN: Brian Lenihan with Fionnuala Lagan during an canvass in Clonsilla, west Dublin, ahead of February’s general election. Photo: Gerry Mooney
BORN POLITICIAN: Brian Lenihan with Fionnuala Lagan during an canvass in Clonsilla, west Dublin, ahead of February’s general election. Photo: Gerry Mooney

MANY years ago when Brian Lenihan Snr and Niall Blaney were discussing the merits of their respective offspring at the Dail Bar, Lenihan Snr famously said: "Brian is brilliant, he can do whatever he wants, whilst Conor. . . well, Conor is very good with his hands."

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Ironically, Conor did far better than expected, whilst the cruelties of political life and the fates meant that Brian, the brilliant child, had to fight far harder than expected to secure even some of his most cherished ambitions.

Perhaps the key to the difficulties he had to overcome is provided by an encounter in the final weeks of his life where, on being asked about the state of his health, a visibly upset Lenihan was more concerned about the fact that "I will not live to see my country recover".

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