Tag Archives: Conor Lenihan

From top: Jack Lynch’s cabinet in 1969; Conor Lenihan

“I think for the first that time this was a legitimate covert operation of the state in an effort to raise, arm, supply both the IRA and ‘citizen’s defence committees’ as they were politely termed

…[it was ] an authorised political operation mounted by the then [Jack Lynch led] government, of which my father [Brian Lenihan Snr. – top pic third left standing) was a member and he never made any secret to us at home what that was about and everybody knew about it

Yet for 20, 30 years in Ireland it would almost put you off the country. We were in denial about this and a lot of people, because of the influence, I suspect, of Jack Lynch and those around him were able to suppress that and say ‘it was a rogue element within the government’ privately and off their own initiative arming the IRA or giving weapons to people north of the border’…”

Former Fianna Fail Minister Conor Lenihan discussing The Arms Trial during a talk on Charles Haughey at the Little Museum of Dublin. Mr Haughey was implicated in the scandal, sacked by Mr Lynch and, although acquitted in a subsequent trial, had his political career derailed for a decade. Mr Lenihan is the author of Charles Haughey; Prince Of Power.

Full speech here

The Little Museum of Dublin

Conor Lenihan, of Fianna Fáil

This morning.

Former Fianna Fáil TD and junior minister Conor Lenihan was interviewed by Seán O’Rourke on RTÉ Radio One.

It follows a report in yesterday’s Irish Times in which it was reported Mr Lenihan is interested in running in the next European elections in 2019.

During the interview, Mr O’Rourke asked Mr Lenihan about an opinion piece written by Fintan O’Toole in today’s Irish Times in which Mr O’Toole focused on an interview in last weekend’s Sunday Business Post in which Fianna Fáil’s Barry Cowen told the newspaper the party wanted to see the Vat rate for builders and developers cut from 13% to 9%.

Mr Cowen told the Sunday Business Post:

We’re looking at a Vat holiday for a sunset period for the construction sector. We are calling for a reduction in development charges and planning levies. The pussy footing is over. There has to be radical measures for a period to allow the sector get back on its feet. To allow the sector to create affordable homes, to allow local authorities to be given the space to build houses.”

Mr O’Toole wrote:

The party [Fianna Fáil] has a bad case of builder’s bum: when it bends over to help out its friends it reveals the hideous gap between its recent left-wing rhetoric and its true loyalties.

If tax breaks for developers created a stable housing market and good urban planning we’d be living on Paradise Island.

Developer-led get-rich-quick schemes, fuelled by tax incentives, have led only to disaster.

Further to this, Mr Lenihan and Mr O’Rourke had the following exchange.

Conor Lenihan: “I think there’s a very serious crisis here and the current government and the previous government have done very little in this area. We do need emergency measures, we need something that actually gets builders and the constructions sector building houses.

This is not rocket science. We do need to provide incentives to people who are building houses to go out and build them. And if you talk to builders and plenty of us do, it’s very clear that the mixture of taxation on a house, to build a house, makes it very disadvantageous for people to get into building houses.

“So this is a very serious thing that has to be addressed. Now it’s nothing to do with anybody’s relationship with the building industry but I would point out that, notwithstanding the brickbat thrown by the likes of Fintan O’Toole against Fianna Fail in relation to our relationship or whatever, with the building industry that it’s very clear from the data, from 1922 on, from the period after independence, that the amount of social houses built by Fianna Fáil governments, is very consistent. We’ve always built more social housing than any other party in this State. So the record…”

O’Rourke: “Coming back…”

Lenihan: “…is good in terms of one level if you look at the actual data…”

O’Rourke: “Well, I think you’d probably have to go back to the 1950s to find your real achievements…”

Lenihan: “No, the social housing schemes were started in the 1930s by the De Valera government and a time when the previous government had no interest….”

O’Rourke: “In the Ahern era, and thereafter, it became a question of just leave it to the markets.”

Lenihan: “Yeah, and I think that was a mistake by all parties in Leinster House. We need to have social housing…”

O’Rourke: “No, hang on, you were the guys in Government from 1997 for the next, what was it, 14 years?”

Lenihan: “That’s right. Yes, but there was a, but there was a consensus in the Dail. The Opposition parties were asking for more, more tax cuts, more spending…”

O’Rourke: “Ok, just to come back to where we started…and your potential return to the political fray here, your name being on the ballot paper. Have you spoken to Micheal Martin about this idea?

Lenihan: Of course I have, I’ve spoken to him and I made it clear that I was open and available.”

O’Rourke: “And what did he say?”

Lenihan: “Well he was very encouraging, of course. As party leader, he does not and cannot express a preference for one candidate over another. He has to be respectful to the membership but I was glad to be able to meet him and share my ambition in that regard.”

Listen back in full here


Speaking of ‘sunsets’….

From an academic paper, published in the Irish Political Studies journal in 2011, about the Irish financial crash.

The paper was called Financial and Economic Crisis: Explaining the Sunset over the Celtic Tiger, and was written by Raj Chari, of Trinity College Dublin and Patrick Bernhagen, of the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.


Any excuse


Last night.

The Gallery of Photography, Temple Bar, Dublin

Former Fianna Fail government minister Conor Lenihan with his just published  biography of Charles Haughey, Haughey: Prince Of Power viewed the Charles Haughey Exhibition “Power Politics and Public Image“, by photographer Eamonn Farrell, before the book’s launch by Fianna Fail, leader Micheal Martin in the National Library.

Spoiler alert: The ‘Prince’ pinches his da’s liver money.

Good times.

Extracts from new Lenihan book: ‘Venal’ Haughey cashed in on the country’s economic success (Irish Independent)


Former Junior Minister for Science Technology, Innovation and Natural Resources Conor Lenihan

Further to reports that former Fianna Fáil junior minister Conor Lenihan is considering running in the next general election, following approaches from senior party figures in Roscommon, Mr Lenihan spoke to Keelin Shanley on RTÉ Radio One this morning.

Mr Lenihan lost his seat in the 2011 general election and has spent the last number of years working in Russia.

Keelin Shanley: “The issue for people like yourself, you served as junior minister in government, in various departments for about seven years, between 2004 and 2011. You’ve very much associated with the Fianna Fáil government that would have been seen as having brought the country into a very bad state of affairs economically. Have you been detoxified do you think at this point, or is that still an aura that would surround you if you were to run for the party again?”

Conor Lenihan: “Well I don’t think it’s an issue in regards anybody who’s served in that particular government. I think…”

Shanley: “Really?”

Lenihan: “… we live in a democracy. Well I think, we live in a democracy and people are entitled to put their names forward and I say that in particular in relation to Mary Hanafin, for example, who was elected to the county council in Dún Laoghaire Rathdown. So look clearly, the public are entitled to take a view on that and of course…”

Shanley: “And they certainly did at the last election.”

Talk over each other

Lenihan: “I’m not suggesting for a minute that they overlook our previous record in government nor indeed my own. But I think people are free to seek election if they so wish to. And I don’t believe there should be some order out there that people who served in the last government would not or are not entitled to seek election to the next Dáil.”

Shanley: “I suppose, Conor, I mean looking at the fate of the Fianna Fáil party in the last election, you would certainly say the electorate at that point did hold Fianna Fáil TDs responsible for what had gone on.  You clearly believe that that has changed over the last four to five years.”

Lenihan: “Sorry?”

Shanley: “You believe that’s changed. This rehabilitation has taken place.”

Lenihan: “People were rightly angry at the previous Fianna Fáil government but it’s very clear from the  local election results which Mícheál Martin can take a great deal of credit for, is that in fact the party emerged as the biggest party in the country in those local elections. So I think it’s fair to say that the only empirical evidence we have of what the public think of Fianna Fáil is that local election results where the party not just bounced back but they became the biggest party in the country in the local elections and I believe that result alone means it will be a very big party in the next Dáil. And I think that’s something people should take note of.”

Listen back in full here

Leon Farrell/Rollingnews.ie

The Cowen/Lenihan government – which has been wrong about everything on the economy – is putting its faith in blind optimism….This is blind and pathetic optimism, because it is based on the same three-card trick, the same bluff and gamble that got us here in the first place. In short, they have learnt nothing at all.’

(David McWilliams, yesterday’s Sunday Business Post)

Yes. Not bad, David. But this is how you tear Brian Lenihan a new one:

‘…on Prime Time , Lenihan announced that the entire banking system would be restored to “the greatness it once had”. Oh dear God – he really means “greatness”.

And the greatness our banking system as a whole once had? The cronyism of overlapping boards? The grotesque salaries and bonuses for people who proved so wildly incompetent? The revolving doors through which regulators became bankers and vice versa? The cooking of the books?

The terrifying thing about all of this is the mentality it reveals. It helps explain why Brian Lenihan has made so many disastrous decisions and why he still can’t face up to the reality that the banks played him like a violin’.

(Fintan O’Toole, last Tuesday’s Irish Times)

A fan weighs-in.



Conor won’t be launching that book.

Now we learn he never read it.

So when the author described evolution as “a fantasy of farraginous, farcical, fatuous, feculent, facile facetiousness.”

Did he perhaps conclude it was about the bank guarantee?

After all he need only look around the cabinet table to see evidence we are descended from apes.

Here’s hoping  this letter will ‘evolve’ into a lengthy, unfunny correspondence among a few retired teachers and bored civil servants.

Yours, etc.

PS Could Martyn Turner knock up something using the illustration above with Cowen et al?