McEntee removal held in Meath
More than an hour before the removal of Minister of State Shane McEntee was due to begin tonight, hundreds of people had already gathered at the church of St John the Baptist, in Nobber, Co Meath.
By the time the funeral cortege arrived, there were as many people outside as there were inside.
Mr McEntee (56), a Fine Gael TD for Meath East, was Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture until his death on Friday.
Fr Seamus Houlihan, parish priest at Nobber, told the congregation that Mr McEntee had died on the shortest day of the year. “The darkness had almost overcome the world.
“And God knows, because he didn’t know, and neither did the rest of us, what darkness or what issues were working inside him,” he said.
Fr Houlihan said sometimes it felt like the darkness was overcoming us but people should remember that Christ was always there with the light of his love.
“We can only hope and pray that now Shane will be able to wrap his arms around each one he loves so much and say to each one of them: “I haven’t left you. I’m still with you. I’m still the light of your life.”
The mourners were led by Mr McEntee’s wife Kathleen and children Aoife, Vincent, Helen and Sally. They were joined by his mother Madge, brothers Alan, Gerard, Larry, Jimmy, Tony and Andrew and sister Mary. His father Tony died in March, 2011.
It was said in recent days that Mr McEntee’s three passions were Fine Gael, farming and football and friends and colleagues from all three spheres were at his removal last night.
The Taoiseach Enda Kenny, who had visited the McEntee family home on Friday night, will attend today’s funeral but was represented by his aide-de-camp Comdt Michael Treacy last night.
Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney attended, as did Department of Agriculture assistant secretary generals Martin Hegharty, Tony Burke and Philip Carroll. Mr McEntee’s private secretary Paul McNally and his adviser Liam Cahill were also there.
Minister for Health James Reilly, Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte and Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton attended the removal as did former taoiseach John Bruton, whose seat was taken by Mr McEntee when he was appointed EU ambassador to Washington.
Other current and past politicians who paid their respects included Thomas Byrne, Jack Wall, Emmet Stagg, Catherine Murphy, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, senators Eamonn Coghlan and Paul Coghlan, Ruairi O’Hanlon, Dermot Ahern, Martin Heydon, Paul Kehoe, Mick Wallace, Maureen O’Sullivan, Sean Kelly and John O’Mahony.
Many IFA farming representatives were in attendance, as was ICMSA president John Comer, Teagasc director Prof Gerry Boyle, GAA director general Padraic Duffy and John Rogers SC.
The funeral will take place at 11am tomorrow followed by burial at Nobber cemetery.