Monday 23 October 2017

McEntee family tells inquest of 'pain' after death of junior minister

Shane McEntee
Shane McEntee

A BROTHER of the late Shane McEntee has spoken of the family's enduring pain, almost a year after the Fine Gael junior minister took his own life.

Alan McEntee was speaking at the inquest into his brother's death, which found that he died as a result of asphyxiation due to ligature.

"The pain doesn't go away. We would like to think that if any good is to come from Shane's premature death (it is that) people will look out for one another.

"People they live with; people they work with; people they play with. If we see a friend in difficulty, take them by the hand and seek help," he said.

Shane McEntee, a 56-year-old father of four and farmer from Mitchelstown, Castletown near Navan in Co Meath, was found dead at his home on the morning of December 21 last year.

Meath Coroner's Court heard from Sergeant Mark Tobin of Slane Garda Station that he received a call of a sudden death at the home of Mr McEntee at 10.30am.

When he arrived at the house 40 minutes later, the ambulance was in attendance, along with Dr Martin White, who had already pronounced Mr McEntee dead.

Sgt Tobin said that Mr McEntee's body was found lying at the back of the garage adjacent to the home and there was a clear ligature mark on his neck.

The body was identified by one of his brothers, Larry McEntee.

A post mortem was carried out by Dr Muna Sabah, who said that there was no evidence of external injuries apart from the ligature mark. There were fractures to the hyoid bone and cartilage in the neck.

The toxicology report found no alcohol or drugs present in Mr McEntee's system. She gave the cause of death as asphyxiation secondary to a ligature.

LIGATURE

Coroner Dr Mary Flanagan returned "a verdict of asphyxiation by ligature as the cause of death".

She extended her "deepest sympathies" to the family, noting the time of year and the effect his death had on "everyone who knew him so well".

Mr McEntee was Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture and Food at the time and his death caused widespread shock in the farming community, political circles and beyond.

Mr McEntee's son Vincent was present at the brief inquest along with two of the late TD's brothers, Larry and Alan McEntee.

In a statement to the press, Alan McEntee also thanked the local community for their continued support and said that the months since his death had been very difficult for the family.

By Gareth Naughton

Irish Independent

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