Patrick Lenihan

Patrick Lenihan (4 September 1902 – 11 March 1970) was an Irish Fianna Fáil politician in the early 1960s.[1] He held the distinction of being the only parent to be elected to an Irish parliament where his son was already a member.

Born in Kilfenora, County Clare, he was an Inspector of Taxes in Dundalk before being appointed by Seán Lemass to run the Gentex textiles company in Athlone. At its height it was the major employer in the Midlands. He also was involved for some years in the Hodson Bay Hotel on Lough Ree and was instrumental in the establishment of the All-Ireland amateur drama festival.

He was elected as a Fianna Fáil Teachta Dála (TD) at his first attempt for the Longford–Westmeath constituency at the 1965 general election.[2] He beat the long-serving Fine Gael TD Seán Mac Eoin in the famous "long count". His son Brian Lenihan had been elected in the neighbouring constituency of Roscommon at the previous election in 1961. It was the first, and to date only, occasion of a child preceding his parent into the Dáil. Patrick Lenihan was re-elected to the Dáil at the 1969 general election and died suddenly in 1970. His seat was taken at the subsequent by-election by Fine Gael's Patrick Cooney who subsequently went on to serve as a Minister.

Two of his children, Brian Lenihan, Snr and Mary O'Rourke served as Irish cabinet ministers. A third, Paddy, served as a county councillor in Roscommon although in the later stages of his career in the 1980s left the party to join up with Neil Blaney's Independent Fianna Fáil party. Two of his grandchildren, Brian Lenihan, Jnr and Conor Lenihan, served as Minister for Finance and Minister of State respectively in the government of Brian Cowen. Conor Lenihan and Mary O'Rouke lost their seats at the 2011 general election.[3] Brian Lenihan, Jnr was re-elected but died in June 2011, ending the Lenihans 50-years of continuous service in the Oireachtas.

Patrick Lenihan was the only member of his family to serve in the Dáil who was not appointed a minister at some stage in his career.

He also had some success as a hurler with Westmeath during the 1930s. He won a Leinster Junior Hurling Championship and an All-Ireland Junior Hurling Championship in 1936. The following year he played in, to date, Westmeaths only Leinster Senior Hurling Championship where they lost out to Kilkenny.

See also


  1. "Mr. Patrick Lenihan". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 19 October 2012.
  2. "Patrick Lenihan". Retrieved 19 October 2012.
  3. Holton, Kate (26 February 2011). "Lenihan, face of Irish crisis, survives election". Reuters.

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