Wednesday 17 July 2019

Noonan upbeat after surgery to remove cancer

Finance Minister Michael Noonan is expected to speak to the media today. Photo: Tom Burke
Finance Minister Michael Noonan is expected to speak to the media today. Photo: Tom Burke
Finance Minister Michael Noonan

Daniel McConnell Political Correspondent

Finance Minister Michael Noonan says his medical team are optimistic about his condition after treating him for cancer.

Mr Noonan (71) has undergone surgery as well as radiotherapy in recent weeks to remove a cancerous lump found on his right arm earlier this year.

He is the second consecutive Finance Minister to be diagnosed with cancer.

His predecessor Brian Lenihan died in June 2011, having battled pancreatic cancer for 18 months.

The veteran Limerick TD revealed last night that in February he noticed a lump on his right arm in the shoulder area. Following medical examination, the lump was identified as a sarcoma which "needed to be removed".

Mr Noonan released a statement to the media shortly before 9pm in response to queries from journalists. He said he did so in order to ensure accuracy and clarity.

During March and April, in the run-up to the local and European elections, Mr Noonan underwent five weeks of radiotherapy at St Luke's Hospital in Rathgar, Dublin, in order to shrink the sarcoma.

Last week, Mr Noonan underwent surgery to remove the sarcoma and was released from hospital just last Saturday.

In his statement, Mr Noonan said: "Last Wednesday, 28th May, the sarcoma was removed at Cappagh Hospital (in Finglas). I was discharged on Saturday, 31st May. My medical team believe the treatment has gone very well and are upbeat about the prognosis."

He added that there was "no damage to my shoulder muscle and my risk of recurrence is low".

Mr Noonan, who is a widower, went on to thank the staff at St Luke's and Cappagh Hospital, "and in particular my medical team".

He said he would continue to serve as Finance Minister at the Taoiseach's discretion.

It was confirmed last night that Enda Kenny was aware of Mr Noonan's condition.

The Finance Minister is expected to speak to the media around lunchtime today.

The former schoolteacher is seen as a crucial figure in the Government, and is well respected by Fine Gael and Labour ministers alike.

Mr Noonan has been a minister in every Fine Gael-led government since 1982, serving in the cabinets of Garret FitzGerald, John Bruton and Enda Kenny. He has held the positions of Minister for Justice, Minister for Industry and Commerce, and Minister for Health.

Mr Noonan's wife Florence died in February 2012 of pneumonia. In May 2010, he appeared on RTE's 'The Frontline' programme to talk about his wife's battle with Alzheimer's disease.

He is father to three sons, Tim, John and Michael junior, and two daughters, Orla and Deirdre.

Mr Noonan took over from the late Brian Lenihan as Finance Minister in March 2011. Mr Lenihan was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in December 2009 following a gruelling 18 months in office.

Mr Lenihan died on June 10, 2011, having been the only Fianna Fail TD to be re-elected in the greater Dublin area in the February general election.

Irish Independent

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