I was very sorry to this morning of the death of Brian Lenihan. I met him on three occasions, and he was always very warm in his manner. He was the Fianna Fáil representative in a debate I organized in the Hist before the 2007 election. He had himself been a Censor and a Treasurer of the College Historical Society during his time in Trinity, and we later made him a Vice President of the Society.
I met him again in October 2009, in City West at the count centre as the positive result of the second Lisbon referendum was being counted, where he talked generally about the day with myself and two others there from Ireland for Europe.
But the day I will remember most was very early days of January 2010, we met in Hodges Figgis, where he was buying among other things, Skidelsky’s biography of Keynes. My Trinity scarf was what triggered familiarity, he approached me, and we talked for a few minutes, about what I was doing since we last met, and all that was going on in the world.
Brian Lenihan came to cabinet relatively late, because of the lack of cordiality between himself and Bertie Ahern. This meant that he wasn’t tainted by decisions made during those years. Unfortunately, he seemed unprepared at first for the position of Finance, with the global recession occurring so early in his term of office, such that he bears responsibility for one of the most costly decisions the state has made, and governments from now should take this a guide of what never to do again. But he did not lack integrity and commitment to resolving the country’s difficulty in what seemed to him the best way and he will be a loss to Irish politics.