Former Retreat Road resident and Marist past pupil Brian Lenihan, who succumbed to pancreatic cancer last Friday after an 18-month battle while carrying out his duties as Minister for Finance, was buried this week at St David’s cemetery in Kilsallaghan, north county Dublin, amid a tsunami of tributes from a grateful nation.
The former Minister for Finance was just 52 years old, and was touchingly refered to as a “young man” on a number of occasions by his friend and Ballymahon native Fr Eugene Kennedy, during his funeral mass in St Mochta’s church, Porterstown, Clonsilla on Tuesday (June 14 ).
Former Attorney General Paul Gallagher, who gave the eulogy, described the late politician’s efforts to limit the damage to the nation in the teeth of its greatest financial crisis as “awesome and inspiring”.
“For Brian, quitting was never an option; he was a master of all the talents, he was an inspiration to us all, and he was a great patriot.”
In a spontaneous reaction the 1,000 gathered mourner broke into applause when the Lenihan family arrived for the service a little after 11am.
The former Minister for Finance; Justice; and Children; and deputy leader of Fianna Fáil, was a TD for 15 years, and lived in the family home on Retreat Road up to 1971, when he left to attend the famous Jesuit academy, Belvedere College in Dublin, where his career path began its stratospheric progress.
Leaving Belvedere as head prefect, he read law at Trinity College, before graduating from Cambridge with a First. He became a barrister in 1984, the same year he started lecturing in law at Trinity College. He became a Senior Counsel in 1997, the year after he was first elected to the Dáil for the West Dublin constituency.
Mr Lenihan is mourned by his wife Patricia Ryan - a Circuit Court judge - teenage children Tom and Claire, his mother Anne, his brothers Conor, Niall and Paul, sister Anita and aunt Mary O’Rourke, the recently retired TD for Longford-Westmeath..