Belfast Telegraph

Ex-finance minister Lenihan dies

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

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 this 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."

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.

Former taoisigh under which Mr Lenihan served, Brian Cowen and Bertie Ahern, praised his decency, ability and commitment.

Mr Ahern said he was a politician of outstanding capabilities and compassion, colourful and extraordinarily clever. Mr Cowen said: "At the Cabinet table, I saw at first-hand how hard he worked and how committed he was to doing his utmost for Ireland. He made an immense contribution to dealing with the problems the country has faced and I believe that this will be appreciated all the more in time."

Mr Lenihan, from a staunch Fianna Fail dynasty, entered the Dail parliament 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 ruinous collapse of his Fianna Fail party.

Funeral arrangements are to be announced later. Mr Lenihan is survived by his wife Patricia, his son Tom and daughter Claire as well as his mother Ann, brothers Conor, Niall and Paul, and his sister Anita.

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