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Lenihan praises his late uncle's 'strength'

FINANCE Minister Brian Lenihan yesterday described his uncle, Paddy Lenihan, as a strong man from whom he learned a lot.

Generations of one of the country's most famous political dynasties said a fond farewell to Mr Lenihan, who died at the weekend.

The brother of Mary O'Rourke and the late Brian Lenihan, he was laid to rest outside Athlone yesterday.

Speaking after the funeral, the Finance Minister described his uncle as "the least known of the Lenihan politicians".

He said the former independent FF councillor was "always a very strong man" from whom he had learned a lot.

"A lovely man," he had inherited from his mother's side "a very strong republicanism" and from his father's side "a tremendous practicality".

Mr Lenihan said he had been speaking with Paddy in August before he became unwell.

He quipped fondly about how there had been "no room at the inn" in the Fianna Fail party when he wanted to run for election and so ran as an independent but also campaigned "quite strongly" for Neil Blaney in Europe.

Ms O'Rourke described how her sadness robbed her of her usual garrulousness.

"I'm too sad to speak," she said emotionally. "I was so fond of Paddy and I am so lonely without him."

The Longford-Westmeath TD has spoken movingly in the past of her loneliness since the death of her beloved husband, Enda.

Paddy Lenihan was devoted to his widow, Brid, throughout their 52-year marriage, Fr John Cullen, parish priest at Kiltoom, said.

He believed in principles over politics and "worked twice as much for you when he knew you hadn't or wouldn't vote for him", the priest said.

Irish Independent