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Sunday 25 February 2018

Matriarch of Lenihan political dynasty left €1.6m in her will

Ann Lenihan at son Brian Jnr’s funeral
Ann Lenihan at son Brian Jnr’s funeral
Wayne O'Connor

Wayne O'Connor

The matriarch of one of the country's best-known political families has left legacies of more than €1.6m.

Ann Lenihan was the wife and mother of two of Ireland's most prominent politicians. Her late husband Brian Lenihan Snr served as Tanaiste for three years between 1987 and 1990, before their son Brian Jnr went on to become finance minister in 2008.

Documents filed in the Probate Office in Dublin last week show that Mrs Lenihan, a housewife, left €1,606,111 in her will when she died on October 25, last year.

Mrs Lenihan had seen great tragedy before her death.

In 1989, she accompanied her husband to the Mayo Clinic in the US where he had a liver transplant after he was stricken with cancer.

He went on to stand unsuccessfully for the presidency before losing his battle with cancer in 1995, aged 64.

Controversy later surrounded the treatment in the US after it was revealed that it was partly paid for through money raised by former Taoiseach Charles Haughey from business men with Fianna Fail links.

Brian Jnr died from pancreatic cancer at the age of 52 in June 2011, a year and a half after his diagnosis. He was aged just six when his younger brother Mark died of leukaemia.

Ann Lenihan got married at the age on 19 after meeting Brian Snr while she was studying medicine at University College Galway.

She was planning to follow in the footsteps of her mother Joan, a doctor, but upon getting married, she ended her studies.

She later went on and completed a BA degree in history and archaeology.

Mrs Lenihan was known to be a rock of support for her late husband and their family of five - fours sons and one daughter.

The family was originally based in Athlone, where Brian Snr served as a Roscommon TD between 1961 and 1973. The Lenihans then moved to Castleknock after an election defeat, with Brian Snr going on to serve as a senator.

He was later returned as a TD for the Dublin West constituency.

Brian Jnr won a seat in the same constituency in 1996.

He was finance minister through the financial crisis and held on to his Cabinet seat after being diagnosed with cancer, saying he wanted "to fulfil the essential functions of my office".

Another son, Conor, was elected to the Dail in 1997 and eventually served as a junior minister.

Mrs Lenihan had a number of health issues of her own later in life before she died last year.

She was survived by her children, Conor, Niall, Paul and Anita, and eight grandchildren.

After Mrs Lenihan's death Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin paid tribute to the role that she played in supporting her family.

"Ann was a loving wife who provided tremendous support in a family that gave much to public service in this country," he said.

"She had a strong sense of service and civic duty which she instilled in each of her children. Ann had a positive outlook on life and always provided encouragement to those around her."

Sunday Independent

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