Monday 20 November 2017

Untimely death begs question of what could have been for Lenihan

I ONCE remarked that Brian Lenihan had the most difficult job of any minister for finance since Michael Collins. It is often forgotten that Collins held that post while the War of Independence raged. His picture is the first of the incumbents on the walls of the department in Merrion Street.

Now -- albeit for entirely different reasons -- Mr Lenihan shares something else with Collins: the question of what might have been. Any political loss pales into insignificance compared with the personal tragedy of such an untimely death, but there is no doubting the scale of the loss both in terms of a career cut short and his party's chances of restoring its place in Irish society.

It seems somehow apt then that he was the first Fianna Fail minister to address the Collins commemoration at Beal na mBlath. The reasons for the invitation, of course, were to do with the state of the economy, not Michael Collins, but they also reflected the great Lenihan trait shared by his father, brother and aunt -- however shrewd and ruthless they were, and are -- they rarely appear divisive.

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