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Lenihan book to shed new light on bank guarantees

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The Minister for Finance, Mr. Brian Lenihan, T.D. in his office.
Picture By David Conachy  05/03/2010

The Minister for Finance, Mr. Brian Lenihan, T.D. in his office. Picture By David Conachy 05/03/2010

The Minister for Finance, Mr. Brian Lenihan, T.D. in his office. Picture By David Conachy 05/03/2010

POLITICIANS and leading financial experts are set to contribute to a new book about the late Finance Minister Brian Lenihan.

His aunt, Mary O'Rourke, a former Fianna Fail minister, is one of the three editors of the forthcoming book, which could shed new light on what happened in the run-up to the State's banking guarantee.

"We have invited 22 people to write an essay of 5,000 words each, all connected with Brian Lenihan's themes and times," she said.

Memoirs

Among those who have agreed are the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, Central Bank governor Patrick Honohan, and Britain's former Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling.

Mr Darling has already written in his own memoirs that Ireland's decision to guarantee savings in Irish banks in September 2008 smacked of panic rather than a plan.

However, he said he had a good working relationship with Brian Lenihan who – he said – worked tirelessly for his country after being diagnosed with cancer.

Speaking to the Herald, Ms O'Rourke said that the other editors were barrister and columnist Brian Noel Whelan, and Brian Murphy, a PhD student. "We have been talking about it for the past 12 months, and about six months ago, we pooled our ideas about whom we might invite.

"We wrote a joint letter signed by the three of us, and we have had a very favourable response," she said.

"Some have said yes, but they wouldn't write 5,000 words, and this is fine with us.

"If they can write 1,000 or 2,000 words, that is fine also."

She confirmed that former Taoiseach Brian Cowen has also been invited to contribute to the book, which is expected to be published next year.

Also invited to write an essay was Jim Flaherty, the Canadian finance minister.

"He was very friendly with Brian during that difficult time," she said.

 

launch

Meanwhile, other contributions will come from people who worked closely with Mr Lenihan and knew him well, Ms O'Rourke said.

The former public enterprise minister's first book, Just Mary – A Memoir, topped the bestseller lists following its launch last year.

Ms O'Rourke wrote movingly in the book about her final conversation with her nephew, before he passed away from cancer aged 52 in 2011.

fdillon@herald.ie


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