Saturday 25 November 2017

A hard working champion of pyrite families

Minister of State for Agriculture Shane McEntee, who died yesterday at 56, was widely respected as a hard-working and compassionate man, liked by politicians from all parties.

He was one of the genuine nice guys of the political world and received particular praise last night from families affected by the pyrite scandal.

As a junior minister, he had campaigned widely to get support for those households and just this week a €50m compensation scheme was announced.

The father of four had strong support from many different sectors of Meath life. He shared his passion for Gaelic football with his brother Gerry, who won two All-Ireland medals in the 1980s.

Shane himself trained a number of football teams, including the Meath minor team.

A farmer from Castletown, Kilpatrick, near Navan, he was first elected to the Dail in 2005 for Fine Gael, winning the by-election caused by the appointment of former Fine Gael Taoiseach John Bruton as EU ambassador to the US.

He developed a friendship with Enda Kenny and came to his aid when other TDs attempted to overthrow him as Fine Gael leader in 2010. It is said that Mr McEntee's contribution to a parliamentary party meeting before a vote on Mr Kenny's leadership was "a show-stopping moment".


He retained his seat in Meath East in 2007 and 2011. During his second term, he was made his party's deputy spokesman on transport. He was appointed deputy spokesperson for agriculture in October 2010.

In 2011, he was appointed Minister of State, with responsibility for food, food safety and horticulture.

He was educated at Saint Finian's College, Mullingar, and had a varied career before entering politics full-time. He worked his farm for 15 years and was also an agricultural sales rep before becoming a TD. He also did a stint as a publican.

Mr McEntee is survived by his wife, Kathleen, and 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.


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