Brian Lenihan worked 17-hour days after he was diagnosed with cancer

Brian Lenihan

A new documentary entitled ‘Cloch le Carn’ sheds light on the final months of the late Minister of Finance Brian Lenihan. The documentary profiles Lenihan’s courageous 18 month battle with pancreatic cancer, and how he refused to let it interfere with his important economic work at the Dail.

The Irish Examiner reports that Lenihan’s aunt, Mary O’Rourke, believed that the public helped will her late nephew’s life onward for some time. She points to when Lenihan was invited as the first Fianna Fail member to deliver the  Béal na Bláth oration in August 2010 in Fine Gail heartland.


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"I can see him on the platform and he spoke and he was in the height of his prowess. He looked good, he spoke great and we forget for that afternoon that he was living under a fatal health diagnosis,” said O’Rourke of her nephew’s oration. She made note of how others who were in attendance commented on how good Lenihan looked at the time, and that it seemed implausible that he could die.

Working hours were tough for the ailing minister, but his aunt remembers how he remained resilient. "Sometimes it [his cancer] affected him deeply but they put in a couch in his office and he was able to lie on that couch. But he would work from 7am until 11 or 12 at night. He just worked. That time he had 24 pieces of legislation that he brought in,” said O’Rourke.

The RTE documentary features family and friends of the late Lenihan. It reveals that Lenihan briefly considered leaving his post upon his bleak diagnosis, but O’Rourke comments on how his “sense of duty” kicked in with Lenihan knowing that Ireland needed to be saved from certain economic disaster. Those who were close to him also share that Lenihan was angered by the way in which the news of his sickness was first broken on St. Stephen’s Day, 2010.