Friday 23 February 2018

Brother hits out at 'faceless online cowards'

Fionnan Sheahan Political Editor

THE brother of the late Shane McEntee (pictured) hit out at the "faceless cowards" who sent the junior minister messages in the days before his death.

The Junior Agriculture Minister took his own life last weekend after what Gerry McEntee, described as "a harrowing time for Shane".

Mr McEntee is an All-Ireland winning footballer with Meath and surgeon in the Mater Hospital.

In a powerful address at the funeral mass of the Meath East TD, he spoke about the anonymous critics of his brother.

"Shame on you people, you faceless cowards who sent him horrible messages on the website and on text. Shame on you," he said to applause from the 3,000 people present in Nobber, Co Meath.

"I hope you are not proud of what you achieved. If you are, we are in a worse state than I ever thought we were in," he said.

Mr McEntee said there was an irony to his brother receiving criticism over comments he made about the cut to the respite care grant.

"The irony, the absolute hideous irony that Shane got so much flak for his comments about the carers' allowance. . . because I don't know anyone that cared more than Shane."

He said he believed there was message to be told from the death of his brother. He appealed for politicians to be allowed to go about their work "without intimidation".

"I believe most people in this church today and in Ireland in general want to go to work each day and do their best.

"I believe that. I believe politicians are no different.

"We have a right and a duty to elect our politicians. If we are not happy with them, we have the right to change them.

"We have the right to peaceful protest, but we have not a right to intimidation and harassment.

"Can you imagine any of you who are not a politician here, going about your day's work and getting continual harassment?

"Whether it takes the form of picketing outside your work and offices or harassment through the social media, which one of you would like to do that? I wouldn't."

He added: "That's my statement. None of that will bring back Shane. We will all miss him.

"We will all miss him and we miss him greatly. His mind was in turmoil but now I hope it is in peace."

Irish Independent

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