Politics needs decent, honourable and committed individuals, who have a natural affinity with people and their concerns. My friend and colleague, Minister of State, Shane McEntee, was one of those persons. I am deeply shocked and saddened to learn of his sudden death today. He was deeply committed to his constituents in Meath East, to farming issues and to his native County Meath.

He was a member of Fine Gael since he was 15-years-old and made an enormous contribution to his party and to the country. His time as Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture coincided with a boom time for the Irish agri-food sector and I know Shane deployed his duties with professionalism and efficiency.

I offer my sincere condolences to his wife Kathleen and his children Vincent, Helen and Sally and Aoife, whom I know he was devoted to and extremely proud of.

I will miss his warm personality, his good-natured outlook and his easy and enjoyable company. My thoughts are with his family and friends at this very difficult time. May he rest in peace.