'We're no gombeens, we'll show them in Dublin'
IT was reminiscent of a political rally from a bygone era. From the back of a truck yesterday, independent candidate Michael Healy-Rae made an impassioned plea to Mass-goers not to let him down on election day.
Speaking outside his parish church in Kilgarvan, Co Kerry, yesterday morning, Mr Healy-Rae defended his father Jackie's record and took a swipe at those who would label the family "gombeens".
"They call us things nobody else has to endure being called," he said from the podium.
"We're respectable, hardworking politicians but when the Dublin 4 media write about us they call us 'gombeens'.
"But I'll tell you why they think we're gombeens. Because they think the whole entire world revolves and stops at the Red Cow roundabout.
"When we look for and when we secure funding for our area down here it's 'robbing the national interest' and it's 'going against everything', according to them, but if the Dublin politicians were securing €600m for a metro above in Dublin -- as they have done -- that's fine, there's no problem with that, but when Jackie Healy-Rae secures €8m for a hospital inside in Kenmare that's 'holding the country to ransom'.
"The money he secured back over the years, you know it wasn't half enough but we're lucky he was there to get it and we should have gotten more but if it wasn't for him we would have got nothing.
"But we're ridiculed for that quite simply because we're rural people and because we're so far removed from Dublin, they'd be happier if we weren't there at all and as politicians you can be sure they'd be a lot happier if we were not there."
The South Kerry candidate told parishioners he was "under attack from all sides" because of the excellent, strong candidates in the race.
"Any person who may at other times have given a number one vote to Fianna Fail or Fine Gael or Labour, I'm pleading with you today, I'm begging you to change so that we have more number ones in the box in Kilgarvan than ever before because I will need them," he said, pointing out that his father had won the seat at the last election by a mere 38 votes.
"I adore the ground that each and every one of you walks on. You're from our parish and our surrounding parishes and I will ask you don't leave me down," he pleaded.
The 10.30 Mass in Kilgarvan was only the first stop for the Healy-Rae machine which then rolled into Kenmare for the 12pm Mass.
Danny Healy-Rae, a member of Kerry County Council, canvassed three churches in South Kerry yesterday morning and they intend on making one more strike next weekend before election day.