Michael Healy-Rae

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Michael Healy-Rae
Michael Healy Rae smiles for a Constituent.JPG
Teachta Dála
Incumbent
Assumed office
February 2011
Constituency Kerry South
Personal details
Nationality Irish
Political party Independent

Michael Healy-Rae is an independent politician in Ireland. He was elected at the 2011 general election to the 31st Dáil Éireann as a Teachta Dála (TD) for Kerry South.[1] Prior to entering national politics, he was involved in local politics in County Kerry and pursued business interests.[2]

Family life[edit]

He is the youngest son of Jackie Healy-Rae, who was a TD for Kerry South from 1997 to 2011, and a brother of Councillor Danny Healy-Rae who represents the Killarney electoral area on Kerry County Council.[3] His mother, Julie Healy, was born in Wilmington, Delaware, but grew up in New York City.[4]

Local politics[edit]

Healy-Rae is a former member of Kerry County Council, and was first elected to the Council at the 1999 local elections, representing the Killorglin electoral area.[5] He retained his seat with an increased vote at the 2004 local elections.[5][6]

Reality television[edit]

In Autumn 2007, Michael Healy-Rae took part in the reality television show on RTÉ called Celebrities Go Wild set in the "unforgiving landscapes" of Connemara. He emerged as the winner having received the largest number of votes from the "viewing public". In June 2011 news broke of a voting scandal, for which journalist Senan Molony received the award for "Scoop of the Year" at the National Newspapers of Ireland's Journalism Awards.[7][8] It was revealed that Healy-Rae had received 3,636 votes from a phone in Leinster House at a cost of €2,600 to the Irish taxpayer, the premium-rate calls being charged on a tariff designed to raise money for charity.[9] Only limited information was available as to how the calls were made. Speculation that an automated dialler had been employed, was discounted by the Irish Independent which suggested they were made over 31 hours using "redial" .[10] The Ceann Comhairle Seán Barrett described it as "an outrageous abuse of facilities", while the Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the money spent on the calls should be paid back.[11] On 29 June 2011, Healy-Rae said that while he was not involved in the calls, he would pay the money back.[11]

National politics[edit]

Healy-Rae was elected in the Kerry South constituency at the 2011 general election when his father Jackie retired from national politics. Along with Michael Lowry and Noel Grealish, he is not a member of the Dáil Technical group.

He was appointed to the board of the Citizens' Information Board in April 2009. He was asked twice to resign his position from the board because of a conflict of interest between his subsequent membership of the Dáil and his membership of a body advising the Minister for Social Protection. After he refused to resign, the Minister dismissed him in July 2011.[12][13]

Healy-Rae missed two-thirds of votes in his first Dáil term, despite being signed in for his expenses on each day a vote was taken.[14]

His political platform includes opposition to tighter controls on drinking and driving.[15] His father and brother have also expressed similar views on such legislation.[16] In January 2012, Healy-Rae proposed changing Ireland's number plate system so that the supposedly unlucky number 13 would be dropped for the year 2013 to "save" the Irish car industry.[17][18]

Healy-Rae has raised The Hum in Dáil Éireann after witnessing it himself while meeting some of his constituents who were "nearly gone out of their minds" with it. The official response he received, was described by Healy-Rae as "away with the fairies gobbledygook."[19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Mr. Michael Healy-Rae". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 29 June 2011. 
  2. ^ "TD does son's grass cutting". Retrieved 6 May 2013. 
  3. ^ "Irish councillors push for change in law to allow people in rural areas to drink and drive". Mail Online. 22 January 2013. 
  4. ^ O'Sullivan, Majella (1 March 2011). "Trip to 'motherland' changed Irish politics forever". Irish Independent. 
  5. ^ a b "Michael Healy-Rae". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 27 February 2011. 
  6. ^ "We pay €1,300 every time Michael Healy-Rae comes to Dublin". TheJournal.ie. 14 September 2010. 
  7. ^ "Irish Times biggest winner at national newspaper awards". The Journal. 27 October 2011. Retrieved 27 October 2011. 
  8. ^ McGreevy, Ronan (27 October 2011). "'Irish Times' journalists win top awards". The Irish Times. (subscription required (help)). 
  9. ^ "Inquiry into Dáil calls to TV show sought". RTÉ News. 28 June 2011. 
  10. ^ Sheahan, Fionnan (1 August 2011). "Dail TV call blitz took 31 hours". Irish Independent. 
  11. ^ a b "Healy-Rae to pay phone money". The Irish Times. 29 June 2011. 
  12. ^ Cullen, Paul (4 July 2011). "Healy-Rae remains silent over his removal from board". The Irish Times. 
  13. ^ "Michael Healy-Rae removed from State agency". RTÉ News. 3 July 2011. 
  14. ^ Kelly, Fiach (2 August 2011). "TDs check in for Dail cash but not for votes: Healy-Rae among poorest records". Irish Independent. 
  15. ^ "Naming our new 'orphan' bridge". The Munster Express. 27 October 2009. 
  16. ^ "Alcohol has nothing to do with road deaths, insists Healy-Rae". Irish Independent. 7 November 2009. 
  17. ^ Reilly, Gavan. "Drop '13′ from next year's numberplates to save car industry, urges Healy-Rae". TheJournal.ie. Retrieved 18 February 2012. 
  18. ^ "Written Answers – Motor Industry". Dáil Éireann Debate Vol. 752, No. 2, pp.62. Oireachtas. 19 January 2012. Retrieved 18 February 2012. 
  19. ^ O'Mahony, John (3 April 2012). "Locals despair as 'The Hum' makes life a living hell". Irish Examiner. 
Oireachtas
Preceded by
Jackie Healy-Rae
(Independent)
Independent Teachta Dála for Kerry South
2011–present
Incumbent