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President leads tributes to Tras Honan


The President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, has led tributes to Ennis resident and former Cathaoirleach of the Seanad, Tras Honan.
Mrs Honan, who is the only woman to have served as Seanad Cathaoirleach since the foundation of the state, passed away in Waterford on Saturday, aged 93.
Mrs Honan was a Senator between 1977 and 1992 and was elected as Cathaoirleach twice. When her sister, Carrie Acheson, was elected to Dáil Éireann in 1981, they were the first sisters to serve as Oireachtas members at the same time.
“As President of Ireland, I am sure that I will be only one among many who will have heard with sorrow of the passing of Tras Honan, former Cathaoirleach of the Seanad,” said President Higgins.
“Tras Honan was a proud Tipperary woman who broke many barriers in a long and distinguished career, notably as the first and only woman to be elected as Cathaoirleach of the Seanad.
“Having moved to Ennis, she quickly made her mark in public service and became the first woman elected to Ennis District Council as it was then – a record of public service that she shared with her late husband Derry and his father, TV Honan, as well as her sister Carrie Acheson.
“Tras was a good and valued friend of so many who have served in the Oireachtas over many years. Her warm heart and direct style won her much deserved respect across parties in the Seanad and those of us who knew her well cherish those memories now.
“Sabina joins me in offering our deep condolences to Tras’s son TV and to all of her family, colleagues and many friends. She will be greatly missed. Suaimhneas síoraí da hanam.”
Mrs Honan was a native of Clonmel in Tipperary and is a member of the Barlow family. She moved to Ennis in 1950 and ran the Honan family pub on O’Connell Square. The premises became an established meeting place for locals, politicians, journalists, and broadcasters.
She was a founding member of Ennis and District Soroptimists. Their advocacy and fundraising led to the foundation of St. Clare’s and St. Anne’s special needs schools, and other related services in Ennis.
A member of the Fianna Fáil party, Mrs Honan is closely associated with Clare politics. She was the fist woman elected to the then Ennis Urban District Council and was later elected Chairperson. Her late husband Derry Honan and father-in-law TV Honan both served in Seanad Éireann.
Following her retirement from national politics Mrs. Honan re-located to Waterford. She was subsequently appointed as Chairperson of Bus Éireann, and chaired the board of management at Mercy Primary School, Waterford.
Speaking over the weekend, Tánaiste and Uachtarán Fhianna Fáil, Micheál Martin, expressed his deep sadness about the death of Tras Honan.
“I am very sorry to learn of the death of my friend, fellow party member and former senator, Tras Honan,” he said.
“Tras was a consummate and natural politician. She was in politics for all the right and noble reasons, to strive to improve the lives of people and their communities. She was an able and determined public representative, driven and committed.
“Tras was a trailblazer for her time, becoming the first woman elected Cathaoirleach of Seanad Éireann, a position she held twice. No other woman has held the position since.
“I greatly valued her friendship and advice. Even up to very recently, she was in contact, offering her support, advice and invaluable insights.
“On my own behalf, and on behalf of the Fianna Fáil organisation, I offer my deepest sympathy to Tras’s family, her son TV, her daughter Ann, brother Aidan and the wider Honan family.”
In 2022, Mrs Honan returned to Leinster House for the Seanad Éireann Centenary celebrations. She is included in a collage of images depicting women Senators over the past one-hundred years, which now hangs in the Houses of The Oireachtas.
She is survived by her son TV Honan, daughter Ann Honan-Croke, her brother Aidan Barlow, her grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces, and nephews.

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