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Death of Former Member: Expressions of Sympathy

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Death of Former Member: Expressions of Sympathy

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Snippet Contents:

On my behalf and on behalf of the Labour Party I am delighted to join colleagues throughout the House to pay tribute to our late and much respected colleague, Jackie Healy Rae. As other have averted to, and as everybody in the nation knows, Jackie was a unique member of the House whose presence here created an awareness in every corner of Ireland of the name Healy-Rae. As others have said, he was a man of many parts. He was born in Kilgarvan and nobody in the State does not know that fact. He grew up on a family farm and with that level of understanding he became a lifelong champion of rural Ireland and of the maintenance of small farm holdings. He was also a most successful businessman who, by the 1960s, had established a plant hire business in south Kerry. His business grew and expanded and employed multiple people. Of course, he also became a most successful publican. He had many parts. He was a successful GAA player and I understand he was a successful saxophonist and played with the Kilgarvan band.
He first became involved in politics in the 1960s, heading several Fianna Fáil election campaigns as we have heard from that party. Most notable was the election of John O'Leary to Dáil Éireann in 1966. So impressive was Jackie Healy-Rae's acumen in organising campaigns that his skills were lent out by the party to several other Fianna Fáil campaigns in other parts of the country including, I understand, in Limerick, Cork and Galway. He was much in demand.
He entered active representational politics himself in 1973 when he was co-opted to serve on Kerry County Council as a Fianna Fáil member. Elected in his own right the following year, he carved out an impressive representational reputation that ensured his re-election time and again to Kerry County Council for 30 years.
I came across Jackie when he entered this House after the 1997 general election. We had just left Government at that time and Jackie astutely negotiated with the changed political dynamic of the House and became one of the famous four wheels that supported the incoming Fianna Fáil administration. They were expensive wheels.