It's pretty far removed from the rarefied confines of Leinster House or even RTé in Montrose. But less than two weeks after announcing he was leaving political life, former Fine Gael TD George Lee will be back in the public eye again tomorrow night – leading off the speakers at a church novena in Borris­okane, Co Tipperary.

Local parish priest Fr Tom O'Halloran confirmed that Lee will deliver a 10-minute speech with the somewhat intriguing title, 'Hope in Recession'.

He told the Sunday Tribune that Lee has strong links with the town as his wife Mary is from there, while his mother-in-law is sacristan at the local church.

He added that Lee agreed to the engagement in October or November of last year, and has been in contact since resigning his seat to confirm that he still intends to take part.

He expressed confidence that the former RTé economics editor, who was unavailable for comment, will pull a "big crowd" which could be in the region of 500 to 600 people. But he believed this would be true regardless of the recent controversy surrounding his departure from politics.

"We didn't expect any of the controversy that happened. I suppose we felt he might have something to say to us about hope in recession," he said. "It's great to have him. George is a wonderful person... George doesn't want any publicity from it himself. He's coming because of his links with the town."

Other well-known speakers at the novena include John Lonergan, governor of Mountjoy Prison and the Bishop of Killaloe, Dr Willie Walsh.

According to a report in the Nenagh Guardian, participants can expect a "warm welcome, a variety of singing, a variety of prayer and reflection and an amazingly diverse group of speakers asking questions and leading them each night".

The second Borrisokane Matt Talbot novena, which began last night, will continue until Saturday. It takes place nightly at 8pm in SS Peter and Paul church.