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Ferris, Martin

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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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Death of Former Member: Expressions of Sympathy

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Deputy Martin Ferris

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Snippet Contents:

The Healy-Rae family and the Sinn Féin Party have been very supportive of each other down through the years. More importantly, the Healy-Rae family are my friends. I first met Jackie Healy-Rae sometime in the late 1970s or early 1980s. That was at a time when Robert Beasley, the Sinn Féin county councillor for Kerry, had to emigrate because of the circumstances. We had to find a replacement on Kerry County Council. We were seeking support for a co-option of Gerry Walsh to take that seat. The only person we could trust in the political establishment in Kerry County Council was Jackie Healy-Rae. He was the whip for the Fianna Fáil party at the time. I met him and asked him would he support Gerry Walsh taking his seat. He told me "my boy, I guarantee that he is a county councillor now". That was even before he went onto the county council. I had tremendous respect for and trust in Jackie Healy-Rae from that day on. That carries on to this day with Danny and Michael and Maura, Jackie junior and Johnny.
The Healy-Rae family has a great legacy in many areas. I had a great conversation with Johnny Healy-Rae after the local elections in Killarney. We were talking about the next presidential election. I suggested that he might be a candidate. He stated that "if I am allowed to cut silage in the 300 acres around Áras an Uachtaráin, I certainly will go for it". As the Kerry supporters and the Healy-Rae supporters and their extended family came in here today, my good friend, Deputy Gerry Adams, looked up and stated "thy Kingdom come". He is a wise man.
Jackie had a tremendous career. He played hurling for Kilgarvan and earned three county championship medals. He won two of them on the field against Kilmoyley in 1956 and 1958. He was a corner forward or a full forward. In those days, those of us who watched, played or supported hurling witnessed an awful lot of ground hurling. Jackie had a fantastic reputation as a corner forward for finding the back of the net with ground hurling while never damaging one daisy. He pulled lovely and high. He was able to take his man out of it and make sure the ball went to its destination as well.
I remember the first time Jackie was elected as a Deputy in 1997. I missed out at that time. Michael reminded me of this last night when we were talking about it. We were in the count centre.