Cowen pledges to help Lenihan 'in every way'
TAOISEACH Brian Cowen has pledged to support Finance Minister Brian Lenihan "in every way" during his battle with cancer.
In his first public comments on Mr Lenihan's illness, Mr Cowen said Mr Lenihan had the full support of his colleagues in the Government.
"We will support him in every way as he faces and confronts this particular illness and we will work very closely with him on that and we wish him well, of course," he said.
Mr Lenihan (50) was scheduled to begin a course of chemotherapy this week to remove the cancerous tissue, spotted in tests the week before Christmas.
He had already said that Mr Cowen had been completely supportive and had never suggested he resign as Finance Minister.
He also said Mr Cowen had been "very shocked and very disappointed" to learn of his condition when he informed him shortly before Christmas.
At a briefing in Government Buildings yesterday, Mr Cowen made it clear he agreed with Mr Lenihan's view that TV3 News should not have reported on his cancer diagnosis on St Stephen's Day.
"My view would coincide with what Mr Lenihan himself had to say about it," he said.
Mr Cowen was fully involved in planning Mr Lenihan's statement and the media strategy that would stop the minister's illness dominating government business.
The Taoiseach said he hoped that Mr Lenihan's public interviews would draw a line in the sand and allow him to get on with his medical treatment and his ministerial work.