'You could never fall out with Brian'

LOSS TO PARTY AND COUNTRY – BROWNE

ELECTIONS past were recalled as Deputy John Browne added his thoughts to the wave of sympathy prompted by the death of former Finance Minister Brian Lenihan.

'He was a lovely man and his passing is an awful loss to Fianna Fáil,' commented his party colleague.

'I worked on his by-election when he first became a TD fifteen years ago.' The veteran Enniscorthy politician was already familiar with the Lenihan family after sat in the Dáil with Brian Lenihan's father and namesake.

'Brian was like his father but not as flamboyant,' commented John Browne. 'He had a laid back, easy style.'

The two men certainly did not fall out when the Wexford constituency Deputy did not vote for Lenihan as FF in the battle that brought Micheál Martin to head of the party in succession to Brian Cowen.

The Browne phone was still likely to ring at midnight with a call from his North Dublin TD colleague. The loyalty of the deceased to the organisation was such that he never considered dropping out of the General Election earlier this year, despite the cancer that was to prove fatal.

As it turned out, he was the only member of the party to be returned in Dublin, a measure of the enduring respect in which he was held, despite the hammering his Government took at the polls

'Brian would call me and say – sink, or swim we'll go down with the ship,' reminisced Deputy Browne who remembered how Brian Lenihan was always happy to make himself available for youth conferences and other constituency events in Wexford whenever he could, especially during the early days of his political career spent in opposition.

Later he went on to add his barrister's know-how to his brief as Minister for Justice and then he shouldered responsibility for Finance at a time of economic upheaval.

'At a time of savage cuts, we had meetings with Brian,' mused John Browne. ' He listened attentively and still cut our salaries! But you would never fall out with Brian. His death is a tragedy for his family, for the party and for the country.'

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