A massive loss to family and country
BRIAN Lenihan's death has struck the country an almost tangible blow, and there is no consolation in the knowledge that his long illness was incurable. Almost every family knows from experience that no matter how long or short the wait, the anguish of loss is the same. And in this loss -- to his family, his party, his constituents and the nation -- there is a special poignancy.
Lately we have mourned two other great Irish political figures, Garret FitzGerald and Declan Costello. Both of them had lived long lives and accomplished much. Brian Lenihan was 52 years old. He should have been at the height of his powers. Had he not fallen ill, he might have had much more to contribute.
He was, besides, the victim of tragic circumstance. In his brief periods as Children's Minister and Justice Minister, he had made an impact far beyond the normal scope. He quickly established his credentials as a possible future Taoiseach. They seemed to have been copperfastened when Brian Cowen appointed him Finance Minister.