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Statement by President Higgins on the death of Rosemary Smith

Date: Tue 5th Dec, 2023 | 17:24

“Rosemary Smith should be remembered as one of the most fearless and remarkable Irish sportspeople to have graced the international stage.

In an extraordinary motorsport career, she defied all expectations of her time in becoming a renowned force in a sport then, as now, so heavily dominated by men. Her remarkable career, including her 1965 victory in the Tulip Rally, where Rosemary remains the only woman ever to win the race, and so many more victories and achievements besides, stands as a shining example of the great impact which women can have in every area of sport.

Rosemary’s achievements continued up to very recent years when in 2017 she became, at the age of 79, the oldest person ever to drive a Formula 1 car.

Rosemary Smith’s induction into the FIVA Heritage Hall of Fame in 2022, the first Irish person to be honoured in this way, was a fitting recognition of a truly distinguished contribution to Irish and global sporting life.

I was pleased, as President of Ireland, to write to her upon that occasion and to pay tribute to the invaluable and generous contribution which Rosemary made to the life and reputation of Irish motorsport.

May I extend my deepest sympathies to Rosemary’s family, colleagues and friends on her passing.

Síochán siorraí le a h-anam crógach lámhach.”