Thursday 18 January 2018

Brian Lenihan ‘cried at kitchen table over Budget cuts’ – son

The late Brian Lenihan with his son Tom
The late Brian Lenihan with his son Tom
Ryan Tubridy with Tom Lenihan at RTE studios
The late Brian Lenihan delivers an address at the Béal na Bláth in 2010
Former Taoiseach Brian Cowen and the late Finance Minister Brian Lenihan pictured in July 2008.
Brian Lenihan, the then Minister for Finance, delivers "one of the most generous non-tribal speeches ever made" at the Michael Collins commemoration at Beal na mBlath in 2010. Lenihan was the first Fianna Fail minister to deliver the oration at the annual event
The late Finance Minister Brian Lenihan and former Taoiseach Brian Cowen are quizzed by journalists
The late Brian Lenihan pictured in his office.
Taoiseach Brian Cowen,TD with the late Brian Lenihan,TD
Ireland's Finance Minister Lenihan talks with his British counterpart Darling at the EU Council in Brussels May 9, 2010.
The late Brian Lenihan
Garreth Murphy

Garreth Murphy

BRIAN Lenihan’s son has spoken of his grief after his father’s death and revealed that he found his father crying at the kitchen table over cuts he was forced to make.

This morning Tom Lenihan (21) spoke candidly about his father’s difficultly in making harsh decisions regarding budget cuts.

“He would have shed tears at people facing cuts,” Tom Lenihan revealed. “He found it hard to balance things that are just impossible moral choices.”

“I would have said: ‘What do you think is in the national interest? How do you make it as fair as possible? How do you balance the supposed best course of action with the problems at the time.”

The president of Trinity College Student Union spoke about his own struggles with depression. He revealed that he struggled with alcohol in college and had suicidal thoughts. He also said that he was on anti-depression medication. 

“I was drinking a lot and that followed me through college,” he told 2FM's Ryan Tubridy.

“I would have missed a lot of days of class through my own not looking after myself. I would have drank alone a lot. Where would I drink? At home, wherever - just wherever I could get alcohol.”

His problems culminated when he was caught cheating in a third year exam. In May 2013 he admitted to bringing a note into a third year law exam.

 “When I sat my exams I was not prepared for them. I was drinking a bit. I was pulling all nighters – which I had never really done before – I wasn't on my medication. I don’t think I was myself. When it came down to it, I cheated in an exam and I was caught.  I had a note in my pocket and I brought it out and I was caught. It was a very stupid thing to do.”

“I knew straight away I was in trouble. It was a wake-up call that I needed to take better care of myself.

Lenihan also revealed that he doesn’t support Fianna Fail and only voted for his father in general elections.

 “I voted for my dad and I didn’t vote for anyone else in . I cannot reconcile my views with Fianna Fail.

“Why? Some of the stances that they take on issues. The last one would have been abortion. I find that they are very conservative party that tend to care for the middle aged and the middle class rather than looking outwardly at our future. In terms of investing in education, you know. A lot of people are very dependent on grants and if that is cut further in the budget again that is gonna have a huge impact. Student retentions are part of my role in the union but there is only so much we do."

Lenihan also revealed that he did not want his father to resign – even after he was diagnosed with cancer

“No, I didn’t. I think would would have been frustrated at home. I think he saw meaning in the job."

Tom went to say that he would have felt guilty if his father had resigned due to his own struggles.

"I would have felt guilty if he resigned because of me. At the same time I wanted my dad to die peacefully and I wanted to create as little tension as I could regarding my own demons. I wanted to try and be there for my dad.”

Lenihan also said that he has no desire to follow his father into politics, despite winning election as the president of Trinity College Students Union.

“I wrote off national politics because you have to make so much compromise in your beliefs. I’d love to be a filmmaker. I’ve had a passion for films since I was about 15. “My dad was quite sceptical but when he saw how passionate I was about it, he said go for it.”

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