FINANCE Minister Brian Lenihan's direct approach to the job has unexpectedly won the admiration of his Northern Ireland counterpart Sammy Wilson (right).
The DUP veteran and Stormont Finance Minister says he likes the way Mr Lenihan (far right) doesn't take a "dogmatic republican approach" and actively wants to cooperate with his colleague cross-border.
Mr Lenihan appears to have developed an unlikely relationship with Mr Wilson. "I must say, I've always got on very, very well with Brian Lenihan.
"I suppose the first contact I had with him was over the whole banking arrangements and NAMA," Mr Wilson said in an interview with the 'News Letter' newspaper in Belfast. "I went to him, I said, 'We're nervous about this in Northern Ireland, we have genuine concerns . . . we need to have some sort of input', and he readily agreed and we have two members on the advisory committee to NAMA."
Mr Wilson is highly critical of the cost of North-South bodies and praises Mr Lenihan's personal approach to cross-border cooperation.
"I like his approach to things -- I mean, he doesn't seem to take this dogmatic republican approach.
"In fact, he seems to be more willing to consider any cooperation between Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland on a minister-to-minister basis, rather than through the expensive and, to me, unnecessary political structures of the North-South Ministerial Council," he said.