McEntee family show support for mental health fundraiser
FINE Gael TD Helen McEntee is preparing for the difficult first anniversary of the death of her father Shane this Christmas.
It is a sensitive time for the McEntee family, given the birthday of the former Fine Gael junior minister passed during the week and his anniversary Mass will take place tomorrow.
But Ms McEntee is throwing her support behind a new football tournament set up to raise funds for mental health.
And she said her family would be gathering together as usual for Christmas. "We will, like every family," she said.
The former Fine Gael minister (56) died by suicide on December 21 last. His body was found at his home at Castletown, Navan. During his short political career, he had campaigned tirelessly for the need to find a solution for families suffering from cracking, splitting and buckling of walls, floors and ceilings due to the presence of pyrite in their homes.
Ms McEntee, who won the subsequent Meath East by-election, said the passage of a new law to pay for the repair of pyrite-damaged homes was a fitting tribute to her late father on the week of his birthday.
"It is an issue my Dad became involved in very early on in his career in the Dail. And I hope the minister won't mind me saying this but I think it's only because of him that it's got this far today," she said.
But as the first anniversary of his death approaches, Mr McEntee will also be remembered at a special football tournament in his own community.
Around 16 north Meath teams will battle it out to become champions of the Sevens Gaelic tournament on St Stephen's Day in Nobber GAA park from 11am. All proceeds raised on the day will be donated to Save Our Sons And Daughters, which promotes positive mental health in the area.
Ms McEntee said she was going to support it 100pc and hoped that it would become an annual event. She is sponsoring the tournament's winning cup.
"This isn't just in memory of Dad. There's been a number of tragic deaths in the area recently. People just wanted to show their support," she said.
Event co-organiser Gordon Weldon said Mr McEntee's death had struck a hard blow to a community.