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Tributes flow for Brian Lenihan TD

By Ed Carty

Ireland’s former finance minister Brian Lenihan has died after a long battle with cancer.

Irish President Mary McAleese led tributes saying the death of such a young and talented politician was untimely, while Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he exemplified public service.

Mr Lenihan, remembered as a decent man and a dedicated and extraordinary public servant, died at his home in west Dublin in the early hours of yesterday morning. He was 52.

“As minister for finance, Brian had to confront challenges, the scale and gravity of which were unprecedented in the history of the state,” the President said.

The Taoiseach said: “Throughout his political career, Brian Lenihan displayed huge commitment to public service and carried out his responsibilities with integrity and compassion.

“During his illness, which he fought with serenity, he courageously continued to fully perform his ministerial responsibilities in the most challenging and difficult circumstances.”

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern described him as “a good friend to Northern Ireland”.

Mr Lenihan had been suffering from inoperable pancreatic cancer and underwent treatment while finance minister in 2009 and 2010. He always insisted it would not deflect from his work.

From a staunch Fianna Fail dynasty, Mr Lenihan entered the Dail in 1996 after winning the Dublin West seat left empty following the death of his father Brian, also a former minister. He retained that seat in the general election in February despite the collapse of his party.

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams, who knew Brian when he was a student at Trinity College Dublin, said: “In their bereavement I hope they (his family) will be able to draw some comfort from the knowledge that Brian lived a life of outstanding personal integrity and dedicated public service.”

First Minister Peter Robinson said: “He was tested and tested hard but he played a stellar role in meeting the fiscal crisis head-on. When Ireland was in the eye of the storm, Brian Lenihan never faltered.”

And Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness added: “His positive approach to his illness at the same time as dealing with the difficult circumstances faced by the Irish economy was remarkable and my thoughts are with his family at this time.”

Funeral arrangements are to be announced later.

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