Shock as Irish minister found dead

2012-12-22 10:21
Enda Kenny (AFP)

Enda Kenny (AFP)

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Dublin - The Irish political world was in shock on Saturday after a member of Enda Kenny's government was found dead in circumstances that police said were not suspicious.

Shane McEntee, 56 - a junior minister at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine - died on Friday near his home in Meath, northeast Ireland.

The Irish Times newspaper said he took his own life.

McEntee was married to wife Kathleen and had three children. As well as his political role, he was also a well-known farmer and publican

Kenny said he was "devastated" by the death, which Irish police confirmed they were not treating as suspicious

"As minister of state, he brought great energy, diligence and enthusiasm to his role," Kenny said in a statement

"On a personal level, Shane McEntee was a loyal friend and colleague and my thoughts and prayers go out to Kathleen and their family at this very sad time," Kenny added

McEntee was first elected to the Irish parliament in a 2005 by-election after former prime minister John Bruton stood down to become the European Union's ambassador to the United States

"It's absolutely awful for the family and indeed everyone who loved Shane. He was a really compassionate man," Bruton said

"The by-election that he won in 2005 was in a way a beginning of the revival of the Fine Gael party which helped the party to find its way into government in 2011.

Dublin's coalition government, of which Fine Gael is the larger party, has come under increasing pressure since unveiling another austerity budget earlier this month.

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