AN EMOTIONAL ENDA Kenny led the tributes to the late Minister of State Shane McEntee today.
Kathleen McEntee was formally welcomed to the Dáil visitors gallery by the Ceann Comhairle this morning as the chamber heard expressions of sympathy. The deceased’s children Vincent, Sally, Helen and Aoife also attended the session.
Kenny opened his address saying “if it seems all wrong to find ourselves here in the first days of spring”, it is because it is “all wrong”.
He said Shane “brought a great life and joy” to both the House and Fine Gael, which feels his loss acutely.
“He did wonderful work for Ireland, for Government and for the party he loved.”
On his appointment as a Junior Minister in the Department of Agriculture, the Taoiseach said he was “impatient, anxious to get going and to get doing”. He praised his ideas, energy and enthusiasm for work.
“He was great in his sincerity, compassion and gentleness – qualities that are perhaps devalued in this world.”
“In being himself, he spoke and acted from the most powerful place of all – his heart. He gave effortlessly and extravagantly. He gave his life to people. This country is better for having known the presence of Shane McEntee.”
He added that he was honoured to call him a friend. Sometimes in life, he said, the greatest battles are those we fight with ourselves.
The 56-year-old took his own life in December 2012.
Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said there were lessons to be drawn from his death and practices should be changed.
He added that the “age of deference is passed but not the need for decency” as he called for those engaged with politics to “think through the consequences of what we say”.