The family of government minister Shane McEntee are preparing to bury Ireland’s latest suicide victim.
The nation is in shock after the 56-year-old father of three took his own life on Friday.
He took his dogs for a walk after breakfast on his Meath farm and never returned.
Friends and political associates have told the Irish Sun newspaper that the Fine Gael deputy felt under pressure after recent budget cuts and severe public criticism.
He was particularly upset by the manner in which callers on radio shows berated him recently.
As his wife Kathleen was being comforted by friends and family after the shock discovery, one Fine Gael TD complained of media bullying of the junior minister.
A family friend told the Irish Sun: “The McEntees are devastated by this. Shane took all the recent pressure to heart. People need to realise politicians are human as well as the rest of us.
“He took all the public criticism very hard, he took it personally.”
Recent comments by McEntee over controversial Budget cuts in the respite care grant brought criticism.
One fellow Fine Gael TD said: “There was an impression that Shane McEntee was under a lot of pressure recently.
“It was the usual types of pressures a lot of politicians are under but he was really feeling it.
“He received a right hammering lately on the radio - it was really unfair.
Then there was the heavy criticism about his respite care comments.”
The colleague added: “Parts of social media give a voice to nutcases who are full of anger and spit out vitriol.
“There is no filter - they give a platform to these people when often it’s just bile.
“I’m not sure this was the only reason in this case, but it seems like a certain amount of social media bullying and media bullying was a factor. He had no financial or personal problems.”
Irish Prime Minister and close friend Enda Kenny said he is devastated by McEntee’s death.
The Fine Gael leader said: “I am devastated at the sudden passing of Minister of State Shane McEntee.
“He brought great energy, diligence and enthusiasm to his role. On a personal level, Shane McEntee was a loyal friend and colleague.”
Where does the term “the luck of the Irish” come from?