Tributes paid to late junior minister Shane McEntee
President Michael D Higgins and Taoiseach Enda Kenny have led tributes to Minister of State Shane McEntee, who has died aged 56. Mr McEntee, who was found dead yesterday morning, took his own life.
He was a Fine Gael TD for Meath East since 2005 and was popular across the political divide. He was appointed Minister of State with responsibility for food, food safety and horticulture following last year’s general election.
He is survived by his wife Kathleen and children Aoife, Vincent, Helen and Sally. His funeral will take place at 11am on Monday at St Patrick’s Church, Castletown, Kilpatrick.
Mr McEntee, a former farmer and agricultural sales representative, was also a publican.He was involved with the GAA and had trained many football teams, including Meath minors. His brother Gerry McEntee was an All-Ireland medal-winning footballer.
Mr Higgins said Mr McEntee had “made an enormous contribution to community and public life” in the fields of politics, agriculture and sport.
Mr Kenny declared himself “devastated” at the death of a “loyal friend”. He said Mr McEntee was a dedicated servant of the people of Meath who had brought great energy and diligence to his ministerial role.
Mr McEntee was first elected to the Dáil in 2005 in the byelection caused by the appointment of former taoiseach John Bruton as EU ambassador in Washington. Mr Bruton said that election represented the revival of Fine Gael and said Mr McEntee brought passion to politics.
“It wasn’t just work for him. He would call to people in their own homes to try to fully understand the problem that was on their mind.”
Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said Mr McEntee’s “good nature and warm personality” would be sadly missed. Fine Gael deputy leader James Reilly fought back tears as he described Mr McEntee as a “larger-than-life individual” who gave 100 per cent.
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin described Mr McEntee as “a true gentleman who commanded the genuine affection and respect of people on all sides of the House”. Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said his thoughts were with Mr McEntee’s family and friends.