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Farewell to a gentleman, Sean Nyhan RIP

Published 1 year ago 22nd February 2022 by Jamie O’Flaherty

On Wednesday last (February 9) the sad news of the death of former Mayor of Clonmel Sean Nyhan began to darken the doors of family, friends, supporters and colleagues of the man who had a smile and a piece of friendly advice for all.

Mr Nyhan was Mayor on four occasions, 1972, 1979, 1989 and 2001.
Described as ‘A giant of Local Government’, he was first elected to Clonmel Corporation in 1968 totalling over 35 years service as a member of the Corporation and ten years as a member of South Tipperary County Council.

Sean Nyhan and his wife Betty photographed at a special function at Minella Hotel to mark his retirement from local politics on May 5, 2009

His friend, Mayor of Clonmel Cllr Michael Murphy, said he had a huge influence on his own political career and stated that a special mention must also be noted for his role as an educator, as former principal of Newtown School Ballymacarbery, and for his position as the first principal of St Oliver’s School where he was appointed in 1981 until his retirement in 1997.

“Sean deservedly enjoyed the respect, esteem and confidence of his very many friends,” said Cllr Murphy.
“Sean possessed exceptional traits of character, he was one of nature’s gentleman, big hearted and generous.

“His ever eagerness to be of service won the respect and affection of all whom he came in contact with.
“His role as an educator and public representative reflected his sterling worth. He led a remarkable life and lived it to the full. While he was a man of high principle and may have disagreed with you in a discussion on a particular topic, he never took it personally and never fell out with anybody over a disagreement.

“He will be a huge loss to all who knew him, he was a mentor of mine and it was Sean who encouraged me to enter politics.
“I have so many positive memories of Sean, not least growing up in Davis Avenue.”

Mr Nyhan, who was predeceased by his wife Betty, was first elected to Clonmel Corporation in 1968. He served for almost 26 years in his first spell as a member of the Corporation until 1994 and ten years in a second spell from 1999-2009.

A native of Hollyford in west Tipperary, he was also a member of South Tipperary County Council from 1999-2009.

The incoming Mayor of Clonmel, Councillor Niall Dennehy is congratulated by his predecessor, Alderman Sean Nyhan on July 2, 2002

Cllr Niall Dennehy joined Cllr Murphy in expressing his admiration for Mr Nyhan and offered his sympathy to the Nyhan family.

“Having first served three times as Mayor before 1994, Sean along with Terry Darmody, did not contest that election.

“I have good reason to remember the ‘94 election’ as I struggled to take the last seat on the 22nd count.
“The reality is that I would not have sat in this chamber had Sean and Terry contested; some would say that the two boys had a lot to answer for.

“When Sean returned in 1999, he sat beside a certain Workers and Unemployment Action Group councillor from Nenagh. Myself and the Nenagh lad exchanged many a boisterous engagement across the table and I remember that Sean would subtly retreat, just in case of any nuclear fall-out.
“Sean was elected Mayor again in 2001 and it was a pleasure to work with him and to learn from him as he discharged his duties with the respect, dedication and professionalism that the office of Mayor demanded.

Fine Gael Leader Enda Kenny photographed at the Minella Hotel in Clonmel with Sean Nyhan and family members on the occasion of his retirement from local politics.

“Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.”
Our thoughts and prayers are with his sons, Frank, Brendan and Colin, his daughters Clare and Emer, and the extended Nyhan family.

Farewell Sean, may God grant you a safe journey, a holy rest and peace at last.

The late Sean Nyhan pictured at a An Cumann Gaelach dinner dance held at The Ormonde Hotel, Gladstone Street, Clonmel in 1972. It was the first time Mr Nyhan served as Mayor of Clonmel.

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