'He was a big man with a big heart'
Charlie Flanagan pays tribute to a loyal friend and colleague who selflessly served his country and community
Shane McEntee was a big-hearted, passionate, Meath man. His strong physical presence was reflected in his firm and determined views. He was a true gentleman in every sense. Everything he did was with passion and vigour, whether it was on the GAA playing field, as a publican serving his customers in his native Nobber, or as a politician serving his constituents throughout Meath.
He brought great vigour and enthusiasm to his role in the Department of Agriculture, which he loved as farming was his great passion.
He was a loyal and committed member of the Fine Gael Party since he was a teenager. He was elected on his first attempt in a historic by-election victory against the odds in Meath in 2005.
Winning first time out reflected his personal popularity and the huge regard in which he was held throughout his native Meath. He was firm and fearless in debate, yet always kind and considerate to others.
His passion for politics was exemplified when he visited and prayed at the grave of Michael Collins in Glasnevin on the morning of a crucial parliamentary party meeting.
The McEntee family is well known throughout Meath for their involvement in GAA, medicine, farming and politics. They make a huge contribution to Irish society. Shane was a loyal friend and a true colleague, ever determined and steadfast in his commitment to hard work and he will be greatly missed by everyone who knew him.
My thoughts and prayers are with his family at this very sad and difficult time.
'Is fear direach é an bás, ní chuireann sé scéal ar bith roimhe.'
Charlie Flanagan is chairperson of the Fine Gael parliamentary party and a TD for Laois/Offaly.