Saturday 15 December 2018

Former ceann comhairle Treacy (93) mourned as 'a great loss to Ireland'

Former ceann comhairle Seán Treacy who died last week
Former ceann comhairle Seán Treacy who died last week

Conor Kane

Ireland has suffered "a great loss, the loss of a leader" with the death of former ceann comhairle Seán Treacy who spent 36 years in the Dáil, mourners at his funeral Mass heard.

President Michael D Higgins was among the mourners who paid their respects to Mr Treacy, who died on Friday at South Tipperary General Hospital at the age of 93.

Others present at the funeral at St Mary's Church in Clonmel yesterday included Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin and the party's Tipperary TD Alan Kelly, as well as other constituency TDs Mattie McGrath, Jackie Cahill, Seamus Healy and Michael Lowry.

Current Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl was also present, along with former minister of state and leas-ceann comhairle Joe Jacob. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was represented by his aide-de-camp, Commandant Caroline Burke.

Mr Treacy was a TD for Tipperary South from 1961 until his retirement in 1997 and served as ceann comhairle from 1973 to 1977 and again from 1987 until 1997.

He was originally a member for the Labour Party, having been an active trade unionist while working in a shoe factory in Clonmel in the 1950s. However, he was expelled from the party in 1985 after voting against the family planning bill, and was an Independent for the remainder of his political career.

He was also an MEP from 1981 to 1984.

Canon Billy Meehan, parish priest of St Mary's, told the congregation that "the community here in Clonmel, and the wider community in Ireland has suffered a great loss, the loss of a leader".

He always sought to promote the interests of Clonmel but also the interests of Ireland and Europe, Canon Meehan said.

"Sean was a man of the people, the people of Clonmel," he said, before quoting Rudyard Kipling - "he walked with princes but never lost the common touch".

Mr Treacy was pre-deceased in 2000 by his wife Kitty and the couple had no children.

A grand-nephew, Terry O'Brien Jnr, said "one of his proudest moments, and that of his family" was when Mr Treacy was made a Freeman of Clonmel in 2004. He told how Mr Treacy had met many world leaders over the years, including Nelson Mandela and Bill Clinton.

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Also in this section