Monday 19 March 2018

Bruce Arnold: The sooner Brian resigns, the better for the economy

Bruce Arnold

Brian Lenihan has put us in an invidious position that cannot last. At a time of great economic crisis he has pledged himself to the crucial job at Finance while undergoing treatment for a most serious form of cancer, its prospective cure rate less than 10pc. However, he has asked that "goodwill" should not impact on "normal political processes". One of these processes is criticism, so here goes.

The emotional revelations surrounding his illness created a huge over-reaction. This was based on an entirely meretricious belief that respect and privacy for the man and his family should prevail over crucial news. The media are not in the business of gentlemen's agreements designed to manipulate the truth. We should not make them. If public figures have private lives it is their business to protect them.

This issue has to be seen separately from human sympathy for the man. It has also to be separated from judgment of his public performance. Such judgment has been confused by eulogies on Lenihan's "masterly" performance as minister and his crucial future handling of the economy. Unless such eulogies stop they will grossly distort everyone's judgment as we apostrophise the man amid the chaos of what he has done and what he intends in the future.

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