A PLAQUE has been unveiled and a tree planted in memory of the late junior minister Shane McEntee as the Taoiseach launched National Tree Week.
Enda Kenny paid tribute to his late colleague as he opened the Rehins Wood Neighbourwood project, a series of forest walks in Castlebar, Co Mayo.
Mr Kenny planted a tree in memory of Mr McEntee, who had been Minister of State for Forestry when he died by suicide in December just days after his 56th birthday.
"This public woodland amenity will be enjoyed by the local community now and in the future as a beautiful space in which to take exercise or spend some time in simple reflection," said Mr Kenny.
"Today we think of an absent friend who made such a huge difference to the development of this project and that is the late Shane McEntee, who reopened this scheme last July.
"I believe planting a tree here in his memory and the unveiling of a plaque to recognise his contribution is a very fitting tribute to his work as Minister of State for Forestry as well as to the great energy, sincerity and kindness he brought to all who knew him."
Rehins Wood, which is owned by Coillte, dates back to the 1840s and the project is aimed at increasing accessibility for recreational users.
Its new forest walks and car park were developed in a partnership between Coillte and Mayo County Council with Forestry Service funding.
Mr Kenny added: "This fantastic amenity is the result of a combined effort - it shows what people and organisations can do when they work together towards a common goal."