Belfast Telegraph

Tributes paid to 'patriot' Lenihan

Former finance Minster Brian Lenihan was a patriot who dedicated his awesome courage and towering intellect to his country and family, mourners at his funeral were told.

More than 1,000 mourners packed the small St Mochta's Church, Porterstown, west Dublin, spilling out into the churchyard and along the country road outside to bid a final farewell to the renowned politician.

In a moving ceremony, marked by tradition, laughter, spontaneous applause and tears, the former Fianna Fail Dublin West TD - who died last Friday aged 52 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer - was remembered as a great man cut down in the prime of his life.

Close friend and ex-Attorney General Paul Gallagher delivered an emotional eulogy, talking for almost 30 minutes about Mr Lenihan's enormous bravery in the face of daunting crises in both his public and personal life.

"If I had not seen it with my own eyes, I would not have believed such courage was possible, I would have thought it was fanciful, the thing of stories and not reality," he said.

Mr Gallagher said quitting was never an option for his late friend, who he described as a master of all the talents, an inspiration to all, and a great patriot.

"He never flagged, he never gave up, he never hesitated, he never took a step backward and all the time he made it seem so easy to all of us, with his laughter, his brilliance, his magnanimity."

The theme was reflected throughout the ceremony, from the opening hymn Be Not Afraid.

Another friend Rory Montgomery, Ireland's ambassador to the EU, in a reading from St Paul to Timothy, echoed remarks by Mr Lenihan in one of his final interviews, in which he stated he had done everything in his power to stave off Ireland's EU/IMF bailout. "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith," he quoted.

Mr Lenihan's wife Patricia, his teenage son and daughter, Tom and Claire, were applauded as they arrived. His mother Anne was helped inside by Mr Lenihan's brothers Conor and Niall, along with brother Paul, sister Anita and aunt Mary O'Rourke.

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