Tributes to former ceann comhairle Sean Treacy upon death at 93
Former mayor of Clonmel was first elected to Dáil in 1961 and held his seat until 1997
Former ceann comhairle Seán Treacy (top left), with (on right) then taoiseach Charlie Haughey, listening to Nelson Mandela addressing the Dáil in 1990. File photograph: Frank Miller
President Michael D Higgins has led the tributes to former ceann comhairle of the Dáil, Seán Treacy, who died on Friday.
Mr Treacy was a TD for Tipperary South for 36 years and was also an MEP for three years.
He lived at Heywood Road in Clonmel and died peacefully in South Tipperary General Hospital at the age of 93.
He was formerly a member of the Labour Party, and was first elected to the Dáil in 1961, holding his seat until 1997.
President Higgins said Mr Treacy had served with great distinction in public life for nearly five decades.
“He led many parliamentary delegations abroad over the years, representing Dáil Éireann and building valuable political relationships all over the world,’’ he added.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said Mr Treacy was a giant of Irish politics from the 1960s to the 1990s, giving proud service to the people of Tipperary, particularly Clonmel.
“He is particularly remembered as an impartial, fair and independent ceann comhairle,’’ Mr Varadkar added.
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said Mr Treacy was a committed public servant at local, national and European level.
“He had strong personal convictions but was always fair-minded and independent in his role as ceann comhairle,’’ Mr Martin added.
Labour leader Brendan Howlin said Mr Treacy was a distinguished member of the Oireachtas for many years.
“I served with Seán in the parliamentary party over the years and I know he was a fantastic representative for the people of his constituency of Tipperary South,’’ he added.
Tipperary Labour TD Alan Kelly said Mr Treacy would be greatly missed by all who knew and served with him, whether as councillor, TD or MEP.
Mr Treacy was expelled from Labour in 1985 after voting against the family planning Bill introduced by the party’s then minister for health Barry Desmond, and was elected as an Independent in 1987, going on to become ceann comhairle for the subsequent three Dáil terms.
He had also held that position from 1973 to 1977 when Fine Gael and Labour were in power.
Mr Treacy was an MEP for the Munster constituency from 1981 until 1984 .
He was a member of Tipperary South County Council and Clonmel Corporation for much of his political career, since first being elected as a senior alderman in 1955.
He was mayor of Clonmel from 1957 to 1958, and other posts he held over the years included the chair of the Civil Service Commission and Local Appointments Commission; president of the Clonmel Trades and Labour Council; president of the Joint Board for Conciliation and Arbitration for the Irish footwear and leather industry, and membership of the Council of State.
His first job was working in a shoe factory in Clonmel.
He was predeceased some years ago by his wife Catherine (Kitty).