Micheál Martin with Brian Lenihan in April of this year. Niall Carson/PA Wire/Press Association Images
Brian Lenihan

Brian Lenihan 'did an outstanding job in extraordinarily difficult circumstances'

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has hailed the late Brian Lenihan for his actions when he was Minister for Finance.

FIANNA FÁIL LEADER Micheál Martin has praised his former cabinet colleague, the late Brian Lenihan, in a speech in the Dáil today, lamenting his loss and praising his decisions while he was Minister for Finance.

Martin was speaking as he moved for a Writ to be issued for a by-election to be held in Dublin West to fill the seat vacated by Lenihan when he died in June this year after battling pancreatic cancer.

He said that Lenihan was “undoubtedly the outstanding public representative of this generation”.

“We, in Fianna Fáil, are fiercely proud of him and what he achieved for Dublin West and for Ireland,” Martin said. ”The courage and commitment he showed in staying in his post, as Minister for Finance, while battling a terminal illness, and the exemplary manner in which he carried out his duties, defined grace under pressure.”

Martin served as Minister for Foreign Affairs when Lenihan was involved in some of the most important decisions taken by an Irish government in the history of the State, such as the September 2008 bank guarantee.

He believes such decisions were taken for the “long-term good of the country” and went on to say: “Brian Lenihan faced events at a scale and a pace of magnitude that no other Irish Minister has ever had to contend.

He did an outstanding job in extraordinarily difficult circumstances.
He was prepared to take unpopular choices – knowing there would be a political price to pay for them – because he believed such decisions had to be taken for the long-term good of the country.

He said that Lenihan’s last budget as Minister for Finance in December of last year was “on track” and was “winning international notice,” adding:

It is now becoming increasingly clear that the measures Brian Lenihan set in train were the right ones to stabilise our economy.

Martin also praised the Fianna Fáil candidate running in the by-election to fill Lenihan’s seat, David McGuinness, saying: “David is young man of integrity, ability and phenomonal work-rate.

“These are all values David learned from working alongside Brian Lenihan over the years.”

Other candidates so far running in the by-election, to be held on 27 October, are Eithne Loftus for Fine Gael, Roderic O’Gorman for the Green Party, Patrick Nulty for the Labour Party, Paul Donnelly for Sinn Féin, Ruth Coppinger for the Socialist Party and independent Barry Caesar Hunt.

Read more on the Dublin West by-election >

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