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Tributes to the late Jackie Healy-Rae to be heard in the Dáil

The South Kerry TD passed away on the 5 December 2014.

Image: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

EXPRESSIONS OF SYMPATHY for Independent TD Jackie Healy Rae are to be held in the Dáil today.

The South Kerry TD passed away on the 5 December 2014, however no expressions of sympathy were heard in the Dáil at the time, according to his son, Kerry TD Michael Healy Rae.

Michael Healy-Rae, succeeded his father in the Dáil in 2011, and was later joined by his brother Danny Healy-Rae, who took a Dáil seat in 2016.

Though some time has passed since his death, his son Michael told TheJournal.ie that it is a “fitting time to remember” his late father following the recent local elections. 

Had his father been alive today, it would have been a “special occasion” to see three of his grandchildren getting elected to Kerry County Council, with Michael stating “it all started with him”.

Michael’s son, Jackie Healy-Rae junior managed to secure a seat in this year’s local elections, as did his cousins Johnny and Maura Healy-Rae.

Maura stood in Killarney, Johnny stood in Kenmare and Jackie stood in Castleisland.

Jackie Healy-Rae was the founder of one of the country’s best-known political dynasties and served as an independent TD for Kerry South from 1997 to 2011.

Born just outside Kilgarvan on 9 March 1931, John Patrick Healy acquired the ‘Rae’ part of his surname from the local townland where he born.

He was educated locally before emigrating to the US in the 1950s. He returned later in the decade and played hurling and football with local teams.

In the 1960s, he established a plant hire business and also acquired a local pub in Kilgarvan which is still going today and is run by his son, Danny.

Fianna Fáil links

Healy-Rae’s political involvement dates back to the 1960s when he headed several by-election campaigns for Fianna Fáil, most notably the election of John O’Leary in 1966.

He was co-opted onto Kerry County Council as a Fianna Fáil member in 1973 and was the party’s director of elections in Kerry South for much of the 1970s and 1980s.

However, Healy-Rae quit Fianna Fáil in controversial circumstances prior to the 1997 general election when the party failed to nominate him as its candidate in Kerry South.

Though some five years has passed since his death, it is common practice for members of Dáil Eireann to pay tribute to former TDs that have died. 

Last week, expressions of sympathies were heard for Fine Gael’s Richie Ryan and John Browne. The chief whip’s office said the Independent group recently asked for time to be set aside to pay tribute to Jackie Healy-Rae, and that was granted for this week’s schedule.

Source: The Explainer/SoundCloud

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