Wednesday 20 February 2019

Even at the end, Brian thought of others

BRIAN LENIHAN'S heartbroken daughter Clare wipes a tear from her cheek as she says goodbye to her beloved dad.

Clare (15), who should have been doing her Junior Cert this week, along with her brother Tom (19) and mother Patricia led thousands of mourners at today's funeral.

Dressed in black, the siblings supported each other as the emotion of the event caught up with Clare.

Tom (19) has just finished his first-year college exams, studying Law and Economics, while Clare was due to sit her Junior Cert this week.

Mr Lenihan finally succumbed to pancreatic cancer early last Friday morning following an 18-month battle against the disease. Typically, his thoughts before his death were not for himself but for his family.

"Ten days before he died, Brian said to me he was not worried about his dying. His sole concern was the pain and distress it was going to cause to you, (his wife) Patricia, and to Clare and Tom and others," Fr Eugene Kennedy told the packed congregation at St Mochta's Church in Porterstown.

Mr Lenihan was laid to rest at St David's Church Graveyard, Kilsallaghan, following 11am Mass.

He is survived by his wife and two children; his mother Ann; his brothers Conor, Niall and Paul; his sister Anita; and his aunt Mary O'Rourke.

Thousands have already shown their appreciation of the man by signing books of condolence, leaving messages of affection and thanks.

He has been remembered fondly right across the country and beyond. French minister for finance Christine Lagarde described Mr Lenihan as "heroic".

At his removal last night, four of the country's five surviving ex-Taoisigh were in attendance. Brian Cowen, Bertie Ahern and Albert Reynolds, along with the oldest surviving ex-Taoiseach, Liam Cosgrave, were among hundreds of mourners.

As a mark of respect and the esteem in which he was held, the Fianna Fail politicians present gave their fallen colleague a guard of honour as his body was taken into the church at 6pm.

Led by party leader Micheal Martin, who had beaten Mr Lenihan to the leadership only a few short months ago, it was a moving display for a true patriot.

Among the mourners were many of those who had lost their Dail seats at the General Election, such as Dublin South East TD Chris Andrews and Dublin South West TD Charlie O'Connor.

President Mary McAleese and her husband Martin were inside in the church, alongside Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin and Bishop John Kirby.

Also present were former ministerial colleagues Tony Killeen, Brendan Smyth, Eamon O Cuiv, Mary Hanafin and Noel Dempsey. But the mourners came from across the political divide and from all walks of life.


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