Former Seanad cathaoirleach Tras Honan dies aged 93

Fianna Fáil senator was only woman to hold position in the history of the State

Former cathaoirleach of the Seanad Tras Honan has died aged 93.

Ms Honan, the only woman to hold the position of cathaoirleach in the history of the State, was a senator between 1977 and 1993.

She was nominated and elected as chairwoman, unopposed, in 1982 and was re-elected to the position in 1987.

Her sister Carrie Acheson was elected to Dáil ́́́́́́́́́́Éireann in 1981, making them the first sisters to serve as Oireachtas members at the same time. Ms Acheson died in January of this year.


Last year, Ms Honan returned to Leinster House for Seanad Éireann Centenary celebrations. During the event, a collage of images depicting women senators since the foundation of the State was unveiled.

The Fianna Fáil politician was also heavily involved in Clare politics, and was the first woman elected to the then-Ennis Urban District Council. She moved to Waterford after she retired from national politics and later served as chairwoman of Bus Éireann.

In a post on social media, Minister of State Mary Butler said she was “so sorry” to hear of Ms Honan’s death.

“Tras was a trailblazer in politics... and was also the first ever female chairperson of CIÉ,” she said on X, formerly Twitter.

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers is a reporter for The Irish Times