Brian Lenihan, who was Minister for Finance in the previous Irish Government, died on 10 June, Requiescat in Pace. We extend our sympathy and offer our prayers to his family – his wife Patricia and his two children, together with his mother and all the other members of his family. Mr. Lenihan was a great Irishman, a statesman, and a gentleman. When people of note die they are usually – even if not always appropriately – eulogised to the skies. It is difficult, therefore, to find a worthy and true description for Brian Lenihan that has not already been plagiarised on behalf of someone less worthy than he is.
Over ten years ago a Government Committee was established to look at the question of abortion, in the light of the ‘Green Paper’ on the subject that had recently been issued by the Government. Brian Lenihan was appointed as Chairman of the Committee and the proceedings lasted for eleven days, spread out over a number of weeks. It was a difficult period, overseeing the members of the Committee in his capacity as Chairman each day, and listening to the many diverse contributions from various groups and organisations, both pro-life and militantly pro-abortion. It was a measure of Brian Lenihan’s stature that at the end of that tiring time he graciously gave space to a colleague of mine to make a contribution to the proceedings. My colleague had not been scheduled to take part, but having made a late request to do so Brian Lenihan agreed, noting that he had been aware of her presence during the different sessions. That is something that will not be forgotten.