Keeping it in the Family

Michael Healy-Rae on the 'personal vendetta' people had against his father

“He will be remembered for an awful long time.”

MICHAEL HEALY-RAE has said that his father Jackie, who passed away in December, has left an impressive legacy.

The independent TD spoke about his father’s achievements, and detractors, during an interview with

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Jackie quit Fianna Fáil after decades with the party when it failed to nominate him as its candidate in Kerry South in the 1997 General Election. He went on to serve as an independent TD for Kerry South until 2011, when Michael took over his seat.

Dail Is Back Michael and Jackie Healy-Rae pictured outside Leinster House in 2007. Eamonn Farrell / Photocall Ireland Eamonn Farrell / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

Healy-Rae Jnr told us he has “nothing but the utmost respect for Technical Group and their whip Catherine Murphy” but has no intention of joining them or the new Independent Alliance.

I don’t need to be a part of a group to be effective for the people who I represent.

Healy-Rae said that being a TD in Dublin is “a completely different job” to being one in a large rural constituency.

While Deputies in the capital can often walk from one engagement to another, Healy-Rae said his “next meeting could be two-and-a-half hours away”.

“My car is falling asunder from the height of tearing here and tearing there, but that’s fine.”

Reality TV

The TD said he has taken part in reality TV shows such as At Home with the Healy-Raes and Looking After Number One in order to give people an insight into the lives of politicians, as their perceptions may be incorrect.

Healy-Rae said there was “nothing put on or nothing set up” in these programmes as he wanted to “let people see what the life of a politician or a political family in a setting such as ours” is like.

Fianna Fails Ard Fheis 2005 Jackie and Michael Healy-Rae at a postal workers' protest outside the Fianna Fail Ard Fheis in Killarney in 2005. Eamonn Farrell / Photocall Ireland Eamonn Farrell / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

Before taking over his father’s seat in the Dáil, Healy-Rae served as as councillor with Kerry County Council for several years.

So if he didn’t work in politics, what would he do?

Well my job is driving machinery and that’s what I did all my life and it’s what I was very happy doing.

When I was young, growing up, if you told me I’d be above in Dublin a number of days every week, I’d have said you were mad but nobody knows what’s around the next corner.

The only reason I’m here is because the electorate was good enough and kind enough to entrust me with their business.

New boundary changes will come into effect at the next General Election, making the whole of County Kerry one constituency.

Life beyond politics

Healy-Rae said any TD who claims they aren’t worried about losing their seat is lying, but added that his work record “speaks for itself”.

If he isn’t re-elected, he plans to keep busy:

I certainly won’t be twiddling my thumbs because the one thing that I like to do is to make the most out of every day. This is not a practice run. Every hour that you have you’re never again going to get that hour back.

“I believe that every person should use themselves to the best of their ability at all times and use their head and use their mind and use their back and their hands and their legs to the best advantage every day, because we won’t be here again.”

Catch up on part one of our interview with Healy-Rae:

‘I don’t feel sorry for criminals who go home in boxes’

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