Tributes paid to Shane McEntee
The Minister for Agriculture said today the death of Fine Gael TD Shane McEntee had shocked and numbed everyone in Fine Gael and in the Department of Agriculture.
Simon Coveney said Mr McEntee's popularity had crossed the political divide.
“Shane was one of the most honest and big-hearted people I have ever had the privilege to know. His popularity crossed the political divide, everybody loved Shane. We are all just devastated at his untimely death," he said..
"Shane was such a family man, his wife Kathleen and his children meant everything to him. They will miss him so much and our thoughts and prayers this Christmas and for a long time after will be with them all. He was such a fantastic support within the Department of Agriculture - talented, down to earth and loyal to the core whenever I needed him. He understood farmers and rural people in a way that I can only aspire to."
"Farmers loved Shane for his blunt and practical approach to solving problems. He was a people person who really took the problems of others to his heart and advocated passionately for the values he believed in and the people he represented."
Mr McEntee's funeral mass will take place on Monday followed by burial at Nobber cemetery in Co Meath.
He was found dead yesterday morning after taking his own life.
Mr McEntee was a Fine Gael TD for Meath East since 2005. 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.
His Fine Gael colleagues from Co Meath - Regina Doherty, Ray Butler and Damien English - today said they had lost a loyal friend.
“Shane was a man of his people, a man of his place, a man of his party. And he exemplified everything that is good about family, friendship and loyalty to the State,” Ms Doherty said in a joint statement.
President Michael D. Higgins said Mr McEntee had “made an enormous contribution to community and public life” in the fields of politics, agriculture and sport.
Taoiseach Enda 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.