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'Healy-Rae for President' story is no joke, Radio Kerry says

An early interview with the newly-retired TD, claiming he was considering a bid for the Presidency, was a genuine item.

Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire

RADIO KERRY has insisted that an interview carried this morning with former Kerry South TD Jackie Healy-Rae, in which the 80-year-old said he was considering launching a bid to become President of Ireland, was not an April Fool’s Day joke.

Healy-Rae told the station’s Kerry Today programme that he had been approached by “about eight or nine different people” from across the country, and that he was giving genuine consideration to putting his name forward for the election.

The former Fianna Fáil member, who turned independent in 1997 when the party refused to nominate him for that year’s general election, was an independent TD until this February, when he stepped down from full-time politics.

The Killorglan-based former TD, however, said he had not committed himself to retirement and was giving some thought to running, but he had not made any decision.

“I’m definitely considering it, anyway, and that’s no joke… never in my life did I lose an election,” Healy-Rae said, adding that he was likely to have make a decision on the matter in the coming weeks.

The timing of the interview – coming before 10am on April 1 – had led many to believe that the interview was an elaborate hoax. This evening, though, Jerry O’Sullivan – the interviewer who spoke to Healy-Rae on air – asserted that the piece wasn’t a timely April Fool’s gag.

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In order to win nomination, Healy-Rae would require the support of either 20 members of the Oireachtas or four county or city councils. Neither, O’Sullivan said, would present much of a challenge for the veteran Kerryman.

“That’s the least of his problems,” O’Sullivan told Today FM, adamant that the piece was an honest interview and was not a mere April Fool’s item – explaining that the station had aired other fake news piece this morning to mark the occasion.

At 80, Healy-Rae was the oldest member of the 30th Dáil; his seat in the Dáil was won by his son Michael in the election on February 25. Another son, Danny, sits on Kerry County Council, where Michael also had a seat until the election; Michael’s seat was taken up by Danny’s son and Jackie’s grandson, Johnny.

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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