Bennett, Thomas William Westropp (1867–1962), farmer and politician, was born on 30 January 1867, the eldest son (and second of five children) of Captain Thomas Westropp Bennett, of Ballymurphy, Patrickswell, Co. Limerick, and Anne Bennett (née Fitzgerald), of Loughgur, Bruff, Co. Limerick. His brother George Cecil Bennett (1877–1963) was Cumann na nGaedhael/Fine Gael TD for Limerick (June 1927–48) and a senator (1948–51). Though their father was a member of the Church of Ireland, the children were brought up in the catholic faith of their mother. After his education at St John's College, Kilkenny, and the Queen's Service Academy, Dublin, Bennett returned to the family's extensive landholding, where he concentrated on dairy farming and joined many farming organisations.
Bennett was chairman and a founding member of the Co. Limerick and Clare Farmers' Association, a founder and long-time president of the Kilmallock Show, and chairman of the Kilmallock Agricultural and Industrial Society. A member of Limerick county council for the Bruree division (1908–20), he was also a member of Kilmallock district council and chairman of the influential Ratepayers Protection Association (1907–11). As a prominent nationalist, in 1910 he stood unsuccessfully as an independent in the Limerick East by-election with the support of the All for Ireland League. He was an active supporter of the Irish cooperative movement and a prominent member (1912–27) of the committee of the Irish Agricultural Organization Society.
Following independence in 1922 Bennett was elected as an independent member to the senate of the Irish Free State, a seat he held until 1936. Despite being regarded by Samuel Lombard Brown (qv) as the stupidest man there, he served as its vice-chairman (1925–8) and chairman (1928–36). His prime concerns were broadening the availability of education and stemming the tide of emigration. From the time that Éamon de Valera (qv) and Fianna Fáil came to power in 1932, Bennett found himself in ever-increasing conflict with the government as it attempted to erode the power of the upper chamber. This culminated in the debate on the bill to amend the constitution in 1934. In his speech on the bill, which was subsequently published as Pro domo sua: being the speech of Senator T. W. Westropp Bennett, in defence of his House of the Oireachtas against Mr de Valera and his government, Bennett railed against de Valera's ultimately successful attempt to abolish the senate. During the course of the debate he said: ‘undoubtedly the object [of the bill] is to establish a dictatorship of a politically obnoxious kind, namely, one that masquerades in the guise of parliamentary government’. Following the abolition of the senate in 1936 he did not hold public office again, but remained a prominent figure in farming and agricultural circles.
In 1945 Bennett became chairman of the Irish Agricultural Wholesale Society (IAWS). His tenure (until 1962) coincided with a particularly difficult period for agriculture and farming. In 1955 the society's long-serving general manager, John Cassidy, died. Many within the organisation favoured Cassidy's son for the job, but when the board voted the position unexpectedly went to a manager from the seeds department, Denis Coakley (qv). It was later discovered that the vote was invalid, and when it was retaken Cassidy's son secured the job. Coakley was unimpressed and left IAWS to found his own business, which later became enormously successful.
A member of the governing body of UCC, Bennett represented Ireland at an inter-parliamentary union congress in Istanbul (1934) and was vice-president (1955–62) of the RDS. Outside farming and politics, his interests included the cinema, horse-racing, and the Irish language. He married, firstly, on 5 January 1893, Esther, the only daughter of Charles Moreton MacDonald, of Largie Castle, Tayinloan, Kintyre, Scotland. They had no children. On 27 April 1923 he married Lillah Mary (d. 11 July 1976), the eldest daughter of William Alexander Happell, Indian civil servant, of 4 Beulah Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent. They had one son, and the family lived at Summerville, Bruff, Co. Limerick. Bennett died 13 February 1962.