TDs still reeling over loss of Shane McEntee
TDS ARE still struggling to come to terms with the loss of junior minister Shane McEntee (pictured).
A month after his suicide at the age of 56, there were still tears in the eyes of several TDs who turned up at a special mass to remember him.
One Fine Gael TD who knew him well said it had been extremely difficult for his family, the community in Meath and those who had worked with him in the Dail.
"When you are a politician, people think you have hard skins, but we're only human. I found it personally very hard to come to terms with," he said.
Since Mr McEntee's death, TDs have been contacted constantly by people who have stories of how he had helped them out during his political career. A charity got in touch to reveal how Mr McEntee had personally paid their phone bill when their service had been cut off.
Yesterday's mass was held in St Teresa's Church on Clarendon Street, just minutes from the Dail, to facilitate TDs and Senators who were not able to travel to the official month's mind mass in Meath last Sunday.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny delivered the first reading, with Health Minister James Reilly, Jobs Minister Richard Burton and Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin.
The singing for the mass was performed by Fine Gael Dublin south central TD Catherine Byrne, her friends from a Dublin gospel choir, and Labour Senator Mary Moran on the keyboard.
There were prayers for Mr McEntee and his family read by his Meath east constituency colleague, Regina Doherty of Fine Gael, Fine Gael general secretary Tom Curran and an official from the Department of Agriculture where he worked.
They described how people's lives were "touched and enriched" by knowing Mr McEntee. And they spoke of how his "integrity, kindness, and public service" had influenced so many. There were also prayers for Mr McEntee's wife Kathleen and their children Aoife, Vincent, Helen and Sally.