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Saturday 3 December 2016

Mary O'Rourke: 'We will speak for Brian at banking inquiry'

POLITICS

Mary O'Rourke
Mary O'Rourke

Former Finance Minister Brian Lenihan's family have said they are keeping a close watch on evidence from the ongoing Oireachtas banking inquiry and will seek to make representations on his behalf if they feel it is necessary.

Lenihan was at the helm of the Government's finance portfolio during the time of the controversial bank guarantee in 2008, which ultimately led to the need for the Troika bailout in 2010.

But due to Mr Lenihan's death from pancreatic cancer in 2011 his testimony is missing from the banking inquiry, set up to examine the decisions made at the time of the economic collapse.

But his aunt and Fianna Fail stalwart Mary O'Rourke, and his brother and former FF politician Conor Lenihan, have written to the clerk of the inquiry asking for the right to speak on Brian's behalf if they feel it necessary.

"It struck us, and still strikes us very forcibly, that those to whom he [Brian] may or had confided in on some matters should be given, if necessary, a chance to come to the committee to speak their mind when statements are attributed to the late minister," Mary O'Rourke said today.

memory

"I do not have papers or records, but I have a memory like everybody else, and I am lucky in that it is a very good memory. We wish to put the committee under notice that we will be following events and listening to what the various witnesses will be saying about the late Brian Lenihan, and we wish, if necessary, to render the recommendations of the committee more complete than perhaps they might not have been," she added.

Ms O'Rourke said Brian Lenihan had confided matters to her at the time of the financial crisis.

"He did confide in me, of course he did, I was very close to him. So he confided in many things to me as he did to his brother Conor," she explained.

Evidence to the inquiry by Central Bank governor Patrick Honohan has said that it was Brian Lenihan's wish to nationalise Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide, but that he was over-ruled by then Taoiseach Brian Cowan, who denies this is the case.

"That may emerge in the evidence [to the tribunal] that the past Taoiseach will give. It may be amplified. Maybe Patrick Honohan wishes to amplify what he said, so we will be watching those matters very carefully," said Ms O'Rourke.

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