Wednesday 24 July 2019

Bertie Ahern did not like 'difficult' Brian Lenihan

The late Brian Lenihan (left) and Bertie Ahern
The late Brian Lenihan (left) and Bertie Ahern
Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern "did not like" colleague Brian Lenihan and considered the late finance minister to be "difficult" and not hard-working enough in the early years, a new TV documentary claims.

Shortly after the fourth anniversary of the death of one of the leading political figures at the height of the economic crisis, 'Lenihan: A Legacy' will explore how Mr Lenihan was viewed by his peers.

Former Environment Minister Noel Dempsey considered Mr Lenihan to be "a handful" as a candidate in the 1996 Dublin West by-election, vying for his late father's seat.

Mr Ahern admits in the documentary that Mr Lenihan was: "difficult, to be honest. I've seen it over the years - the more intellectual they are, the more work they don't want to do.

"You have to do both, you have to be able to put in the graft, keep lunches to a minimum, keep tea to a minimum and keep finishing time late. We had to make him knock on doors ... other than Castleknock!"

Later he spoke about how he had promoted Mr Lenihan to Minister for State for Children's Affairs in 2002. Mr Lenihan wanted to be Minister for Justice but he told him "On another day'."

However political commentator Olivia O'Leary believed Mr Ahern simply did not like Mr Lenihan, for other reasons.

"He didn't like Brian Lenihan, he didn't like the fact that he played Wagner in the car and knew about art. It was one of the reasons he didn't promote Brian earlier," she said.

"There definitely was a middle-class, bourgeoisie self-confidence about Brian Lenihan that was totally unapologetic and that was rare in FF."

'Lenihan: A Legacy' will be broadcast tomorrow night at 9.35pm on RTÉ One.

Irish Independent

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