Brian Lenihan dies, Former Irish Finance Minister was an heroic figure who battled deadly cancer

It is with deep sadness that I note the death of Brian Lenihan, Ireland's former Minister for Finance who passed away this morning. He was just 52.

Lenihan was an incredibly brave and courageous politician, who despite suffering from deadly pancreatic cancer, continued in office to serve his country, despite his debilitating illness.

His bravery was astonishing during Ireland's darkest hours with the IMF and EU bailout. Physically he looked haggard and worn but he continued to fight both his illness and the Irish economic tsunami despite all of that.

I don't know what sustained him through that terrible time and what agony he and his wife and young family went through after the devastating diagnosis but it is clear he fought it as long and as hard as he could.

Son of Brian Lenihan, a former Fianna Fail Deputy Leader, Brian Lenihan was probably destined for the top job in Fianna Fail before the illness derailed him.

I had occasion to meet him many times over the years and regarded him as a thoroughly decent politician, who embodied the best Irish attributes of patriotism and commitment to his cause.

He was in the flower of his political life, handsome, erudite,charming and alas has been struck down. He will be fondly remembered.

Fianna Fail party leader Micheal Martin stated;

"I am deeply saddened by the passing of my colleague and friend Brian Lenihan.

Brian has fought a brave and courageous battle with a serious illness over the past eighteen months.

In all of this time, Brian never once flinched from his public duties and he showed an unceasing and untiring commitment to tackling the economic crisis facing this country.

Even when receiving debilitating treatment, Brian continued to work assiduously in the best interests of this country. For Brian Lenihan, that was always paramount.

Brian’s commitment in doing his utmost for the Irish people defines modern patriotism and all that is laudable in our politics. His loss to Irish public life is immense."

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