The cap doesn't fit but Healy-Raes add to political dynasty
Published 22/03/2011 | 07:57
It was case of the name -- if not the cap -- fitting yesterday as the latest member of the Healy-Rae dynasty took up his first political appointment.
Johnny Healy-Rae was co-opted onto Kerry County Council to fill the vacancy created by his uncle Michael's recent election to the Dail.
The 26-year-old part-time farmer, who also helps run the family plant hire business, joins his father Danny on the council.
It is only the second time that a father and son have served on the local authority council at the same time.
The first to achieve this feat were his grandfather and uncle.
But for the first time in the Healy-Raes' 38-year reign, neither of their two councillors will sport a cap.
Yesterday, the newest member of one of the nation's most enduring political dynasties told how he learned about his trade at the knee of his grandfather Jackie Healy-Rae.
Johnny was little more than a toddler when he attended his first meeting of Kerry County Council. "I came to meetings here with my grandfather when I was three or four years old and we went to Southern Health Board meetings in Cork."
The Healy-Rae clan played their cards close to their chest and didn't reveal who their candidate was until before yesterday's meeting.
The new councillor said his decision to fill the vacancy was made "lately" and "not lightly".
"I have an advantage over other people who are starting here today in that my father is alongside me to advise me." said the new councillor.
Mr Healy-Rae was one of four new faces co-opted onto the local authority yesterday and the second family dynasty.
Matthew Griffin now occupies the Fine Gael seat in place of his cousin Brendan who was elected to the Dail.
Tralee mayor Gillian Wharton-Slattery replaces Labour's Arthur J Spring and builder Johnjoe Culloty was the latest addition for Fianna Fail.