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In praise of Brian Lenihan

Aristodemus

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What the hell is that all about? Quite a few commentators are now telling us that he is the man of 2009, being a man of principle and not to be dissuaded from the correct course to right the economy. It seems to me that most of this praise is because he is not Brian Cowen, which is a pretty threadbare basis on which to make an assessment.
Since becoming Minister for Finance he has shown himself to be as inept as any of his predecessors and certainly is likely to have cost the country more in the long-run.
As I see it he has had 3 budgets, October '08, April '09 and December '09. Each one was a panic reaction to the economic downturn. He had a chance to deal with the fiscal deficit with a certain amount of reform of the taxation system but kicked it into touch by setting up the Commission on Taxation. When they reported he binned the report.
He set up An Bord Snip to make the hard unpalatable decisions for him. It duly reported and he binned that one.
He obviously missed Economics 1.01 when sitting his Leaving Certificate. You do not inflate an economy when it is in the middle of a boom and you do not deflate it during recession. Of course we do it that way because as a lawyer he'd know all about it.
Man of the Year my arse.
 


FakeViking

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This currently my favourite portrait of Lenihan:



But you've got to admire him. He can sell snow to eskimos.

And for what it's worth I wish him a happy and healthy retirement from politics.
 

sauntersplash

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Just before the execution of Marie Antoinette by "the people", the mob which had congregated to celebrate the event, (the same group which had just dragged her from her palace,) chanted the words, "long live Marie Antoinette, long live the Queen".

Madness is rare in individuals, in crowds it is the rule.

Hypocrisy, likewise.
 

Phinaeus

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I think Lenihan's most recent budget (where he finally refused pointblankly to be pushed around by the ditherer Cowen and the trade unions) may well be the first important step in bringing economic recovery. For this he should be lauded.

It was a harsh budget, but it was fair. Ray MacSharry was once deemed a heartless villain. Now he is regarded as a national hero. Politics is a fickle old business.
 

seenitallb4

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He had a shaky start in difficult circumstances and I think NAMA is a load of sh1te. However, his last budget was a step in the right direction.
 

drjimryan2

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his retirement day will be a sad one for his many admirers, however I feel he will be better off fighting this in private, I wish him all the best.....
 

Pauli

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If Lenihan has to retire due to his illness, it will be a sad end to a career that was only beginning to reveal its full potential. While there are many on this forum ready to criticise NAMA, it has to be said that Lenihan was handed a poisoned chalice and was charged with sorting out the appalling mess made of the economy by Ahern, McCreevy, Harney and Biffo. These are the shysters in whose direction public ire and rage should be directed.

After a shaky start, Lenihan showed definite signs of getting to grips with a portfolio he never wanted and for which, unlike his previous portfolio, he was not particularly qualified. He comes across as a decent man whose integrity, in sharp contrast to many in his party, cannot be called into question.

I wish him a speedy and successful recovery.
 

Congalltee

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Leaving aside the tradegy for himself and his family, it is a bodyblow to national confidence. He was the politician of the year, by a country mile.

That said, Nama will be his legacy and it is not a good one.

The other factor is that he is Fianna Fail to his core and he will use his illness to maximum effect to benefit the Party. The other parties can do little about it.
 

MsAnneThrope

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He comes across as a decent man whose integrity, in sharp contrast to many in his party, cannot be called into question.
I would have to disagree with you on this point Pauli. The fact that he stayed in the party after what Haughey did with the funds raised for his father's liver transplant proved to me that he was just another brainwashed 'party first' FF'er. As are Mary & Conor too in my opinion. There are lines that cannot and should not be crossed and what Haughey did was extremely distasteful and beyond belief. There are people that if a FF minister ate their children would still defend and vote for them, and remain members of the party.

As someone said here a few weeks ago supporting or being a member of a party should not be like supporting/playing for a football team. When you or your family or your country have been disgracefully and shamefully betrayed there is only one option. He should have chosen a career outside politics, or at least outside Fianna Fáil.

The 'party first' mentality has a lot to do with the mess we're in today, will delay our recovery, and will ultimately lead to further as yet unknown messes down the road. Country first - or get out of politics. Call me old-fashioned but the Lenihans should have left FF years ago IMO. I have always questioned their motivations for staying since.
 
Last edited:

cyberianpan

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He obviously missed Economics 1.01 when sitting his Leaving Certificate. You do not inflate an economy when it is in the middle of a boom and you do not deflate it during recession. Of course we do it that way because as a lawyer he'd know all about it.
Man of the Year my arse.
Methinks you missed economics lessons also

Here's a summary of an Irish Economy piece by Philip Lane, who is pretty much our top economist. He argues against a spend side stimulus, and the comments rope in many of our other economists :

Philip Lane Irish Economy
fiscal expansion should be pursued where it makes sense but “one size does not fit all” and some conditions call for a different fiscal approach.

Here are some of the key issues (but please read my actual papers if you want the more detailed versions of these arguments):....
this list is my summary:
  1. pre existing specific bubbles in Ireland
  2. lack of control of our currency value
  3. runaway public sector pay
  4. lack of large government surpluses during the boom
  5. problems largely structural, GDP increase alone not sufficient
  6. deomgraphic problems
  7. high cost of debt funding for Ireland
For such reasons, I consider that those who advocate an ‘off the shelf’ Keynesian prescription (as advocated by Danny Blanchflower yesterday) do not have a correct diagnosis of Ireland’s current economic and fiscal situation. The standard Keynesian prescription is appropriate if an economy on a sustainable growth path and with sustainable public finances has been temporarily knocked off course by a demand slump. For the reasons given above, this is not the situation in Ireland

Comment by Colm McCarthy:

Philip’s central point, and the burden of Patrick Honohan’s remarks to the recent ESRI/Foundation for Fiscal Studies conference, is this: we are not redressing a fiscal imbalance deriving from a cyclical downturn. We are trying to recover from a Bubble.

Two bubbles actually - a public spending bubble (including public payroll) and a credit-fuelled property bubble. These were home-grown, but are compounded by the strong exchange rate, the worldwide credit crunch and international real economy downturn. David Blanchflower has missed these points about the Irish situation.

Comment by Colm Harmon
Philip reasonably presents why the situation is not one that allows ONE PART of the Blanchflower message (the spend spend spend argument) to follow through in Ireland.
...
is that the core message is well understood as portrayed by Philip in this post, by Colm McCarthy and other, and indeed very directly by John Fitzgerald
Furthermore here is a post budget analysis by Prof Gregory Connor that makes clear there is wide consensus amongst Irish economists that the budget & fiscal policies are correct:

Prof Gregory Connor- Irish Economy
For faithful members of the 46-ers*, the new government budget proposal creates cognitive dissonance. How could a government so wasteful in its bank-bailout policies produce a general government budget proposal that seems so carefully and sensibly crafted to address current fiscal and competitiveness problems? In contrast to bank-bailout policies, the new general budget seems reasonable, balanced and fair, but as stringent in difficult circumstances as could possibly be asked.

cYp
 

uriah

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I think Lenihan's most recent budget (where he finally refused pointblankly to be pushed around by the ditherer Cowen and the trade unions) may well be the first important step in bringing economic recovery. For this he should be lauded.

It was a harsh budget, but it was fair. Ray MacSharry was once deemed a heartless villain. Now he is regarded as a national hero. Politics is a fickle old business.
Definition of FAIR in your dictionary?
 

GDPR

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When you or your family or your country have been disgracefully and shamefully betrayed there is only one option. He should have chosen a career outside politics, or at least outside Fianna Fáil.
A complete misunderstanding of what happened with the fund for Brian Lenihans Sr's. medical expenses.

The money collected, at the instigation of CJH, was put into the party leaders fund, all and every expense for BL was paid out of this fund and when every penny of his medical expenses was paid for, CJH continued to use the party leaders fund for his own purposes as he always had done before the collection for Brian Lenihan. In effect the Lenihans were not treated disgracefully or shamefully and the medical expenses for Mr. Lenihan were looked after 100% by FF through the leaders fund.

Either way, accepting that the Lenihans know more about the matter than you do, might be something you should consider.
 

Pauli

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I would have to disagree with you on this point Pauli. The fact that he stayed in the party after what Haughey did with the funds raised for his father's liver transplant proved to me that he was just another brainwashed 'party first' FF'er. As are Mary & Conor too in my opinion. There are lines that cannot and should not be crossed and what Haughey did was extremely distasteful and beyond belief. There are people that if a FF minister ate their children would still defend and vote for them, and remain members of the party.

As someone said here a few weeks ago supporting or being a member of a party should not be like supporting/playing for a football team. When you or your family or your country have been disgracefully and shamefully betrayed there is only one option. He should have chosen a career outside politics, or at least outside Fianna Fáil.

The 'party first' mentality has a lot to do with the mess we're in today, will delay our recovery, and will ultimately lead to further as yet unknown messes down the road. Country first - or get out of politics. Call me old-fashioned but the Lenihans should have left FF years ago IMO. I have always questioned their motivations for staying since.
Perhaps his motivation for staying in the party is that his father and grandfather were major figures in the party and he did not want to see the spivs totally take it over. It is common knowledge that he and Ahern did not get on which is why he had to wait so long for a ministerial post. It may be that he saw himself as somebody with whom decent party members and supporters could identify (it is too big a party to label them all as underhand gombeen shysters).

Supposition on my part, I know, but maybe he did want to do something from within. Outside, it is harder to achieve any kind of change.
 

Malbekh

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I would have to disagree with you on this point Pauli. The fact that he stayed in the party after what Haughey did with the funds raised for his father's liver transplant proved to me that he was just another brainwashed 'party first' FF'er. As are Mary & Conor too in my opinion. There are lines that cannot and should not be crossed and what Haughey did was extremely distasteful and beyond belief. There are people that if a FF minister ate their children would still defend and vote for them, and remain members of the party.
Hey there, haven't seen you for a while - welcome back - or perhaps I need glasses.

There is a third option here. I have a sneaking suspicion that Lenihan, having started very late in politics by comparison with other dynastic families, has had the maturity to realise than revenge is indeed a dish best served cold.

There is the possibility that Lenny has a little black book with quite a few names on it, that he intends to cross off á la Count of Monte Cristo. I am therefore hoping that the severity of the illness is less than has been reported, because should he make a full recovery and continue on his 'path to power', I look forward to the gory consequences of any blood-letting.

Let no one doubt that FF as a party are in serious difficulty regardless of what the polls will say throughout 2010. Their grass roots base of councillors is practically down to the core, they have an upper echelon of gombeens and useless tools that make even rational people take an opposing stance against them.

Lenny has a window of opportunity before the pigeons roost in the NAMA house to get his, and party's collective you know what in order, before the curtains fall completely on FF as a dominant party. His illness therefore, could not have happened at a worse time.
 

Malbekh

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A complete misunderstanding of what happened with the fund for Brian Lenihans Sr's. medical expenses.

The money collected, at the instigation of CJH, was put into the party leaders fund, all and every expense for BL was paid out of this fund and when every penny of his medical expenses was paid for, CJH continued to use the party leaders fund for his own purposes as he always had done before the collection for Brian Lenihan. In effect the Lenihans were not treated disgracefully or shamefully and the medical expenses for Mr. Lenihan were looked after 100% by FF through the leaders fund.

Either way, accepting that the Lenihans know more about the matter than you do, might be something you should consider.
Here's what the Moriarty Tribunal had to say about the misappropriation of funds:
In relation to fundraising for the late Brian Lenihan, the tribunal says that it gets 'no satisfaction' to find that Mr Haughey deliberately sought to raise funds in addition to what he knew or must have known was required to meet the cost of Mr Lenihan's treatment, and that he ultimately applied part of those funds for his own use.

The report goes on to say that no other conclusion can be reached on this matter by the tribunal in light of the evidence heard.

The tribunal found that Mr Haughey personally misappropriated one particular donation of £20,000 for Mr Lenihan's benefit and took a series of steps to conceal his actions.

In relation to the Lenihan donations the tribunal established that up to £265,000 may have been collected for that purpose and of those funds no more than £70,000 was applied in meeting the costs and expenses of Mr Lenihan's medical treatment in the US.

The tribunal says it is satisfied that a sizeable portion of the excess funds collected was misappropriated by Mr Haughey for his own personal use.
 

GDPR

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Here's what the Moriarty Tribunal had to say about the misappropriation of funds:
The tribunal says it is satisfied that a sizeable portion of the excess funds collected was misappropriated by Mr Haughey for his own personal use. :
This had nothing to do with the Lenihans, this was CJH's wrong doing, but was no personal slight on the Lenihans, Brian Sr, was looked after in the matter of his medical expenses. Why would they be expected to leave FF over this action by CJH, which had nothing to do with them?
 

MsAnneThrope

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A complete misunderstanding of what happened with the fund for Brian Lenihans Sr's. medical expenses.

The money collected, at the instigation of CJH, was put into the party leaders fund, all and every expense for BL was paid out of this fund and when every penny of his medical expenses was paid for, CJH continued to use the party leaders fund for his own purposes as he always had done before the collection for Brian Lenihan. In effect the Lenihans were not treated disgracefully or shamefully and the medical expenses for Mr. Lenihan were looked after 100% by FF through the leaders fund.

Either way, accepting that the Lenihans know more about the matter than you do, might be something you should consider.
Hal, did you ever hear of the Moriarty Tribunal?

In relation to fundraising for the late Brian Lenihan, the tribunal says that it gets 'no satisfaction' to find that Mr Haughey deliberately sought to raise funds in addition to what he knew or must have known was required to meet the cost of Mr Lenihan's treatment, and that he ultimately applied part of those funds for his own use.

The report goes on to say that no other conclusion can be reached on this matter by the tribunal in light of the evidence heard.

The tribunal found that Mr Haughey personally misappropriated one particular donation of £20,000 for Mr Lenihan's benefit and took a series of steps to conceal his actions.

In relation to the Lenihan donations the tribunal established that up to £265,000 may have been collected for that purpose and of those funds no more than £70,000 was applied in meeting the costs and expenses of Mr Lenihan's medical treatment in the US.

The tribunal says it is satisfied that a sizeable portion of the excess funds collected was misappropriated by Mr Haughey for his own personal use.
Source: RTE

Accepting that the Tribunal knows more about the matter than you do, or pretend to know, might be something you should consider? Furthermore, even if the money was slushed into the Leader's fund do you not think that (a) he should have set up a totally separate fund to pay for Lenihan's treatment and (2) refunded any excess or donated it to an appropriate charity, or medical fund? Or would that have been too ethical?
 

itchy

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He was bounced into the bank guarantee which will bounce the country. Like all FF's; an eejit at best.
 

Malbekh

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This had nothing to do with the Lenihans, this was CJH's wrong doing, but was no personal slight on the Lenihans, Brian Sr, was looked after in the matter of his medical expenses. Why would they be expected to leave FF over this action by CJH, which had nothing to do with them?
Nothing in your post indicated that Haughey had done anything wrong other than purloining leader's expenses. I just wanted to put the record straight that he was a knave of the lowest order but set the bar to a very high standard when it came to putting himself and his cronies ahead of the country.

I look forward to the findings of the next tribunal to find if his standards have been exceeded.
 

DCon

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