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Monday 20 January 2020

Lenihan chides FG for overselling 'messiah'


FINANCE Minister Brian Lenihan claimed last night that George Lee left politics because his "messianic" qualities were not being recognised by Fine Gael.

He was speaking after Taoiseach Brian Cowen had wished Mr Lee well and warned that politics was a "tough life".

Mr Lenihan said that Fine Gael "oversold" Mr Lee as an "economic messiah".

He then added that Mr Lee felt his saviour-like qualities were not being acknowledged.

Mr Lenihan also said that the resignation came as a "big surprise" to him.

"The problem here is that Fine Gael really did oversell George Lee from the very start," he said on 'The Last Word' on Today FM.

"They sold him as an economic messiah and obviously he accepted their word on that and felt that his messianic economic qualities were not being recognised.


"They billed George as some person who could solve all our problems immediately and George Lee has discovered for himself that can't be done."

Responding to the accusation that he had been used by Fine Gael, the former RTE Economics Editor said: "The role I set out to play, the role I told the electorate I was going to play, just wasn't happening.

"People wouldn't expect me to carry on in a manner when I was just faking it."

Mr Cowen, who saw Mr Lee take the late Seamus Brennan's Dail seat in a whopping victory last year, earlier remarked that politics was a tough and arduous career.

He was speaking minutes after the former TD and journalist dropped his resignation bombshell.

The shock announcement is likely to lead to yet another by-election headache for the Taoiseach, with a separate poll needed in Donegal South-West to replace Pat 'The Cope' Gallagher, who was elected to the European Parliament last year.

"Well, it's a big decision obviously for himself and his family," Mr Cowen said of Mr Lee's move.

"On a personal level, I'd like to wish him well. Politics is a tough life, a tough career," he said.

Mr Cowen said the move had taken him by surprise.

Irish Independent

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