Senator Rose Conway-Walsh leads Seanad tributes to William Trevor

Late writer commended for ‘wonderful contribution to literature and Ireland’

Late writer William Trevor: Tributes paid in the Seanad. Photograph: Eric Luke

Late writer William Trevor: Tributes paid in the Seanad. Photograph: Eric Luke

 

Sinn Féin Seanad leader Senator Rose Conway-Walsh led tributes in the Seanad to the late writer William Trevor. She wanted to “acknowledge the wonderful work he did in highlighting serious issues in our country”.

Ms Conway-Walsh recalled her role as an extra in The Ballroom of Romance, which was produced in Ballycroy, Co Mayo.

“William Trevor was responsible for my first pay cheque. We all received £18 per day. To a small, rural parish such as Ballycroy, it meant a lot.”

The Mayo Senator said the writer examined serious issues including rural Ireland. “He must be commended on the wonderful contribution he made to literature and Ireland as a whole.”

Labour Seanad leader Ivana Bacik described Trevor as “a beautiful writer of wonderful short stories that were really evocative of rural Ireland”.

Jewel for sociologists

Fine Gael Senator Joe O’Reilly said The Ballroom of Romance would be “a jewel for sociologists and historians for generations to come”.

“It evokes and depicts a very glum and dark period in Irish history. It is one we tend to romanticise retrospectively but it does not merit such romanticising.”

Independent Senator David Norris described Trevor as “a most modest, unassuming and charming man. He had a very sharply defined way of dealing with character in his short stories.

“I found some of the stories quite shocking. One of them was unbearable to read. It was about somebody who went away from a flat – I think it was in Brighton – and left the butler in charge. The butler gradually took over the flat. When he invited his friends in, they created devastation until the owner of the flat unexpectedly came back. I could hardly bear to read the last sentence.”

Mr Norris said Trevor “also illustrated the lives of the Protestant community in rural areas and small provincial towns”. He added “it is a moment to remember his quite extraordinary contribution to Irish literature”.