Wednesday 19 June 2019

'Brian Lenihan wasn't difficult... Bertie Ahern just never liked intellectuals' - Mary O'Rourke

David Kearns

Former Fianna Fail minister Mary O’Rourke said she was “untroubled” by comments from ex-Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, who branded the late Brian Lenihan as “lazy”.

Speaking on The Ray D'Arcy Show today, Ms O’Rourke dismissed the comments about her late nephew, saying “Bertie likes to talk… I wasn't troubled [because] it was clear he wanted to get some things off his chest.”

In ‘Lenihan: A Legacy’, which aired last night on RTE One, the former Fianna Fail leader said the ex-Finance Minister was “difficult” to work with, adding “the more intellectual they are, the more work they don’t want to do.”

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“[Bertie] was always a pint man, a local man… [and] I know that life myself, but I think he just feared some things," said Ms O'Rourke.

The late Mr Lenihan, who had the unenviable job of Minister for Finance during the economic crash, passed away aged 52 after a short battle with pancreatic cancer.

His aunt, a former Fianna Fail politician and Minister(s) for State, Education, and Health, described her former party leader as “someone who never did like intellectuals.”

Read More: Bertie Ahern did not like 'difficult' Brian Lenihan

“[Last night] he spoke about Brian liking poetry and things like that but so what, lots of us like that stuff and we’re still happy to knock on doors.

“There might have been some frustration about Bertie not promoting people but I never minded him not promoting Brian.

“Why should he have? He didn't have to promote anyone. As for Brian asking to be a minister, I don’t know any of that. Maybe he did but that’s between guys.”

Asked for her opinion on comments by broadcaster and journalist Matt Cooper, who has questioned Mr Lenihan’s state of mind leading into Ireland accepting an IMF bailout, Ms O'Rourke described the Today FM host as “contrary with a capital C”.

Read More: Cowen decided on bank guarantee 'after talks with Lenihan that night'

Mr O’Rourke said she watched 'Lenihan: A Legacy' alongside her son and his family for "emotional support".

“It was filled with emotion – people ask me how did I ever get so attached to my nephew but I worked with him for 16 years under the Oireachtas roof.

"We were work mates as well as family. He use to come in and out of my office… and we would gossip about family and how things were going in the Dail and the Seanad.”

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