Minister of State Shane McEntee dies suddenly
The Government has announced the sudden death of Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture Shane McEntee.
The news was confirmed in a statement issued by the Taoiseach's office.
"The Government regrets to announce the sudden death of Minister of State, Shane McEntee TD. Our thoughts and prayers are with Shane’s family and friends at this deeply sad time," the statement said.
Mr McEntee, from Navan, Co Meath, represented the constituency of Meath East for Fine Gael. He was appointed Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture with special responsibilities for food, food safety and horticulture in March 2011.
He turned 56 on Wednesday. A former farmer and agricultural sales representative, he was also a publican.
Mr McEntee is survived by his wife Kathleen and his children Aoife, Vincent, Helen and Sally. His removal will take place on Sunday to St. Patrick's Church, Castletown Kilpatrick at 7pm. He will be buried at Nobber cemetery following 11am funeral Mass on Monday.
First elected at a byelection in 2005 to replace former taoiseach and ex-Fine Gael leader John Bruton on his appointment as EU Ambassador to the United States, Mr McEntee was re-elected in 2007. He was involved with numerous voluntary organisations, particularly the GAA, and had trained many football teams including the Meath minors.
President Michael D Higgins said he was very saddened to learn of the untimely passing of Mr McEntee. “Shane McEntee made an enormous contribution to community and public life throughout his career in farming and agriculture, as a TD representing the people of Meath in Dáil Éireann and to the world of sport through his involvement with the GAA. He will be missed by his family and friends, colleagues in political life and by the wider community.”
Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he was “devastated” at the sudden passing of Mr McEntee. "Since his election to the Dáil, Shane has been a dedicated servant of the people of Meath. As Minister of State, he brought great energy, diligence and enthusiasm to his role,” he said. "On a personal level Shane McEntee was a loyal friend and colleague and my thoughts and prayers go out to Kathleen and their family at this very sad time."
Fine Gael chairman Charlie Flanagan said he learned of Mr McEntee's passing with "extreme shock and sadness".
"On behalf of the Fine Gael parliamentary party, I offer my deepest condolences to Shane's wife, Kathleen and their family at this very difficult time. Shane was a true gentleman in every sense of the word. He will be a huge loss to the Fine Gael family and to everyone who knew and loved him. May he rest in peace."
Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said Mr McEntee was “passionate advocate” for his Meath East constituents, particularly for the farming community. “His good nature and warm personality will be sadly missed by his parliamentary colleagues from across the political divide,” the Labour Party leader said.