LAHINCH HAS BID FAREWELL to one of its most popular community activists.

Long-serving community activist, Tomsie O’Sullivan died at his residence in Doonboy, Station Road, Lahinch, on St Patrick’s Day. His resposal and funeral took place at Lahinch Church before his burial on Saturday in the Old Cemetery, Ennistymon.

Last September, Tomsie was presented with a long-service award for reaching 58 years with the RNLI. He served as secretary of the Lahinch RNLI for close to six decades. The crew of Rescue 115 paid tribute to O’Sullivan in Lahinch on Friday evening, the Sikorsky S92A hovered in the area while his remains were removed from his home to Lahinch Church.

Tomsie turned 90 last year, he was born on Main St in Lahinch, after his father Thomas, a carpenter fell off a roof in the 1950s and never recovered fully, he was forced to leave Ennistymon CBS at the age of 16 where he became an apprentice to take over the O’Sullivan carpentry business, this would be the first of many careers he would experience.

Upon completion of a part-time course, he commenced employment for the Lisdoonvarna based McNamara Builders and was involved in building a scheme of houses in Spanish Point. He climbed the ranks to become a foreman and clerks of works.

After completing a part-time course in carpentry, he worked for McNamara Builders, Lisdoonvarna building a scheme of houses in Spanish Point and progressed over the years to become a foreman and later clerks of works. In 1952, he got involved in An Tostal, a Bord Fáilte venture to extend the tourism season and set up a local group to run this event.

Tomsie also got involved in numerous community organisations in North Clare such as social services in Lahinch that later set the seeds for Clarecare, helped set up the Friends of Ennistymon Hospital, which prevented its closure and over the years raised for a major upgrading and provision of a daycare centre in 1979 after collecting an estimated €3 million during a 28-year period. He spent six years on the board of the National Combat Poverty Agency.

He also founded Lahinch Sea Shore and Inland Rescue unit and was a former OC, “B”. Company 22nd Infantry Battalion of the F.C.A. (Lahinch camp). Tomsie pioneered ship to shore communications locally and was noted as a dab hand when it came to CB and marine radio, taking charge of a base in Lahinch for many years, he also sponsored the training of guide dogs for the blind and was an active member of Fianna Fáil where he revelled in election canvassing, he was also Lahinch’s Peace Commissioner.

Lahinch hotelier, Michael Vaughan described his neighbour Tomsie as “a serial entrepreneur” who experimented with various new business ideas. “He developed the family shop on Main Street from a small grocery to a laundry, cafe and added bike rentals. He developed a set of holiday homes on Station Road, a caravan park and later upgraded it to ‘penthouse’ suites”.

Vaughan recalled, “He had a vintage Model T car for a while and he always had the latest model of the up and coming car brand. He was a director of Lahinch Development Association where he gave countless hours in the interest of the community. He organised parking and proper circulation of traffic in Lahinch on countless Sundays and he was a familiar figure to anyone visiting Lahinch for years.

Tomsie is predeceased by his loving wife Marie, deeply regretted by his loving family, son Owen, daughters Selina, Joan, and Helen, grandchildren Alannah, Jack, Susan, Milly, Siabh and Ellsie, sons-in-laws, daughter-in-law, nieces, nephews, relatives and extended family.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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