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Death of Former Member: Expressions of Sympathy (Continued)

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 984 No. 3

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Danny Healy-Rae: Information on Danny Healy-Rae Zoom on Danny Healy-Rae] I am proud to have this chance to be in Dáil Éireann. When my late father was first elected to this House 22 years ago, I never thought that it would happen. I am honoured to have this chance to pay tribute to Jackie Healy-Rae. We were side by side for all of his life. We will continue his work while the people of County Kerry want us and God above allows us to do it. I look forward to meeting him in another kingdom at a future time. He rang me every night and every day when he was not at home. I only wish when my phone rings now that it would show the number 087-2506633 because it often rang and meant so much to me. He did so much for me. I can honestly say he gave us the chance to start. It could be the case that if it was not for him, we would never have been here and would never have got as far as we did. It is up to us to work as hard as we can to continue his work because that is what he would want us to do. His voice would be music to my ears if I could hear it again.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Before I call Deputy Michael Healy-Rae, I inform the House that we have received a message from the Minister of State, Deputy Brendan Griffin, who has been attempting to make it here. He extend his apologies because he has been delayed. He would like to acknowledge the tremendous political machine built by the late Jackie Healy-Rae in County Kerry. He sends his regards to Michael, Danny and the entire Healy-Rae family.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae I thank the Ceann Comhairle, the Taoiseach, Ministers, Opposition leaders and all of the other Deputies who have spoken so nicely. We will find it very hard to fight with them in the future.

Deputy Finian McGrath: Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath Great.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae We will rise and fight on behalf of the people of County Kerry again. I thank Deputies most sincerely for their kind words. The one thing we realise is they meant what they said. Our late father, Jackie Healy-Rae, was indeed a very unique and special person.

I must acknowledge the chairman of the Healy-Rae organisation, John O'Donoghue from Farranfore, who is in the Visitors Gallery. He always chaired meetings of our organisation during the years. I acknowledge my brothers, Denis and John, and my sisters, Rosemary and Joan, who is in America. There are others in America who cannot be here. I acknowledge my father's brothers, Denny and Mick, and his sisters, Hannie and Cathy. My late uncle Dan would have loved to be here, but, unfortunately, that is not the case. Others who would have liked to be here have sent very warm words. My message to Dan McCarthy who is fighting his own battle in Milltown is that he will be here again. I hope he will be here to see more of us in the future. He will be there to fight other elections in the future. There are people who recently departed. On 4 April we lost Jimmy Breen from Sneem. His wife, Mary, is here, about which I am very glad. She is flying the flag for the Breen family. They were with my father and us for many years. Donie O'Sullivan is not here, but Noreen is, about which we are very glad.

I mention a special young person, Katie, who is Kathleen Cahill's grandchild. I would like to talk about a terribly nice and kind thing Katie did for my father. When she came into the world as a lovely young girl, she made my father like a father again. Everybody in Killarney knows this. He used to go to Bird's Bazaar and make flower arrangements with Kathleen. Neighbours would be drafted in. They did all of these things in my father's later years. He was there for Katie and enjoyed every day with her. I will be eternally grateful to her because when more of us were small, he was so busy that he did not have the time to devote to us that he would have liked to have had. He did it with Katie and I acknowledge her especially. She has come all the way from America to be here. She is only a young girl. I acknowledge the great joy and happiness she brought into our father's life. Her mother, Antoinette, is in America today.

Kathleen Cahill who was with my father for many years cannot be here. We acknowledge all of the others who cannot be here but we know that they are watching from other places. Each and every one of the people in the Visitors Gallery has something in common. I acknowledge the presence in the Visitors Gallery of Senators Coghlan and Ned O'Sullivan and former Senator Dan Kiely who worked and soldiered with my father. Senator Coghlan travelled many roads with our father. They were very close companions. Many of the canvassing team are here. I remind Opposition Deputies who might think we are showing our artillery that the people in the Visitors Gallery are representatives of many others. I want all of our colleagues in the different groupings to look up at the Visitors Gallery and realise that for every head and every pair of legs they see, there are 50 more at home. They go from north Kerry to south Kerry, east Kerry, west Kerry and mid-Kerry.

I acknowledge the new generation of Healy-Raes. I am very proud that they are here. Johnny Healy-Rae, Maura Healy-Rae and Jackie Healy-Rae were recently elected as councillors. I congratulate all councillors in the country who were successful in last month's local elections. It is a great source of enjoyment for Danny and me to see the young Healy-Raes here. I am terribly conscious that we are all in a cycle or on a wheel.

I remember fondly the nights I organised tours or clinics when the Dáil was not sitting - perhaps at Christmas, in the summer or during some other break or recess - and my father used to ask what we had on for the week. It is no exaggeration to say that an average night could have taken in 15 or 17 places. Every place would have to be special. In every place the local people would have had to be told that Jackie would be coming that night. We met a lot of people and wrote down a lot of problems, but it is no good writing them down unless they are sorted out afterwards. We used to love sorting out problems and trying to help people. When I think back about those late nights, I remember falling asleep and trying to keep my eyes open as I travelled along in the car. The funny stories used to keep us going. When I think back about the funny things that used to happen, I also lament the tough problems we encountered. The one thing nobody can take from us is the memories we have. Jackie Healy-Rae gave us special memories from which we will never be pulled away. I remember the funny and genuinely nice things that happened and the lovely people we met.

I would like to say one thing to all of the people who are able to be here. The one thing they all have in common is that my father had a very special place in their heart. If they were asked to write a book about him, they could do so on the basis of their fond memories of things that happened. He was an entertainer. He was a politician. Thankfully, the media are calming down a little about the Healy-Raes. Perhaps they are getting to learn a little about us. I remind them that a former Deputy in Dublin, the late Tony Gregory, was a nice, great and hard-working man.

Deputy Finian McGrath: Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath Hear, hear.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae: Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae It always confused me when people in the media said Tony Gregory was a great man for getting good deals and good things for Dublin, as he was right to do, but when they were talking about Jackie Healy-Rae doing great and goods things for people in and bringing money to County Kerry, it was as if we were stealing the money and taking it to Japan or somewhere not on this island just because we were beyond the Red Cow. That is why I always refer to the Red Cow as something it is not impossible for people to get across. We are entitled to come here on behalf of the people of County Kerry. Danny and I, like the lads on Kerry County Council, make no apology to anybody for beating a path to the doors of Ministers, the Taoiseach and Opposition leaders to state our case for and on behalf of the people of County Kerry. That is our job and what we are here to do.

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