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Michael Healy-Rae: 'I knew nothing about it'

The independent TD says he won’t resign over phone calls from the Oireachtas that helped him win a TV show four years ago.

Michael Healy-Rae speaking to reporters outside Leinster House today.
Michael Healy-Rae speaking to reporters outside Leinster House today.
Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland.

INDEPENDENT TD MICHAEL Healy-Rae has told TheJournal.ie that he knew nothing about the unusually high number of calls that were placed from Leinster House, where his father was a TD, prior to him winning a celebrity television show in 2007.

The Irish Daily Mail reports today that 3,636 calls came from the phone of an elected member inside Leinster House, when his father Jackie Healy-Rae was a TD, at the time of the charity programme Celebrities Go Wild in October 2007.

The calls were reportedly made to a premium number that was needed to vote specifically for Michael Healy-Rae to win the programme. This cost the taxpayer €2,639.

However, the independent TD for Kerry South who took his father’s seat at the last election, said this morning that he knew nothing about the calls and could not have known about them because he was away in the mountains in Mayo competing at the time.

He added that he didn’t even have a mobile phone with him and was completely out of contact, telling TheJournal.ie:

I knew nothing about it.

Unless I am after mastering bi-location everyone knows where I was.

This money didn’t go to me, it went to People In Need.

There was enormous sums of money raised during the course of the week which was put to a good cause.

He said since he learned of the story he has been informed that the calls could not have come from one phone inside Leinster House as the Daily Mail claims: ”I was told very, very clearly that nobody could say whose phone they were from.”

The former Kerry county councillor pointed out there are hundreds of people working in the Oireachtas and many phones. When it was suggested he must be very popular in Leinster House, he said:

Maybe I am, I know a lot of people inside there.

Healy-Rae insisted he could not have known anything about the number of calls being placed to vote for him and said he had no intention of resigning his seat in the Dáil in light of the newspaper report.

Read: Healy-Rae won TV show after thousands of calls from the Dáil: report >

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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