On Christmas Eve, Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny paid a graveside tribute to an ally who helped bring him to power amid the worst economic crisis in Ireland’s modern history.
Shane McEntee was a “true friend and confidante, who listened to other people’s problems and made them his own,” Kenny said in his speech, after 3,000 people attended the funeral of the food minister. Three days earlier, McEntee had taken his own life. He was 56 with four children.
While financial hardship has led to a spate of suicides in parts of austerity-hit Europe, the deaths of McEntee and the son of well-known restaurant owners less than a week later have turned the national spotlight onto the issue in Ireland.