Sunday 19 November 2017

Wild celebrations throughout the Kingdom as both Healy-Rae brothers make the Dáil and the New York Times

New TDs Danny and Michael Healy-Rae on their county-wide victory procession through Kerry
New TDs Danny and Michael Healy-Rae on their county-wide victory procession through Kerry
Danny Healy-Rae in celebratory mood with his brother Michael. Photo: Eamonn Keogh
Majella O'Sullivan

Majella O'Sullivan

The Healy Rae may be known in every part of Kerry at this stage but their presence on the international stage is certainly growing.

Michael and Danny Healy-Rae romped home in their Kerry constituency, with Michael achieving the highest first preference vote in the country with a staggering 20,378 haul.

The Healy-Raes pulled off a historic victory - becoming the first siblings to ever win seats in the same constituency in the same election - with an impressive 30pc share of the vote.

Their achievements haven't been overlooked on the world stage with the New York Times making special mention of the pair in their coverage of the election.

Read More: Healys-Rae show Fine Gael and Labour how to win votes

In a post, the New York Times was fascinated by the scenes that greeted their rise and the celebrations that came afterwards.

" In County Kerry, officials struggled to confirm even the first-preference results after a marathon 14-hour count — because two leading candidates, Danny and Michael Healy-Rae, are brothers and ballot counters accidentally scrambled their vote counts. Tempers frayed as a late-night recount was ordered.

"With midnight approaching, Michael Healy-Rae finally was declared Kerry's first winner. Boisterous supporters lifted the lawmaker into the air, his trademark farmer's cap somehow staying on his head, as they sang his campaign song: "Make your vote and pray, that he goes all the way! He's flat to the mat with his black cap, and there's no time for tae (tea)."

The Healy-Rae brothers headed off in a cavalcade around the county with a convoy of supporters before finishing their celebrations in Kilgarvan last night.

Michael Healy-Rae also achieved the highest first preference vote in the country with his staggering 20,378 haul.

The cavalcade of about 50 vehicles was last night being led by Danny Healy-Rae's jeep and Michael's black Skoda car, and was accompanied by two garda outriders.

It was set to take in Castleisland, Listowel and Tralee before some live music on the main street of Kilgarvan where an "almighty" celebration was taking place.

Michael Healy-Rae said their success was due to "work - and not forgetting what it's all about".

And he had a message for their detractors, saying: "Ye still don't get it - what do we have to do? They (some of the Dublin media) called us all sorts of horrible names, like the 'Healy-Rae pigs' - and that is a quote. I want to remind those journalists today about what they said about us and our families."

A large crowd of supporters gathered in the count centre, where Danny's election was greeted with rapturous applause and a rendition of 'Danny Boy'.

Meanwhile, Diaspora Minister Jimmy Deenihan (FG) lost his seat on the 11th count. However, he said he thought there would be another election "very soon".

After the bruising he received in his ninth election, the five-times All-Ireland winner has not ruled out running again.

But he said he would have to think long and hard before putting his name forward.

"If I ever hear 'Jimmy is ok' again, I'll lose it," Mr Deenihan said. "The word got out, especially after the TG4 poll, and this affected people's thinking."

He said he felt he had been targeted by people who were not happy with the performance of the Government.

"We had to make hard decisions and I had to stick by those - we had to do what we had to do," he added.

Labour's Arthur Spring said the voters in Kerry were disingenuous, as he felt the warm reception he received on the doorsteps did not reflect his poor 6.6pc showing.

He also came out in support of Tanaiste Joan Burton, saying he did not believe she should step down as Labour leader.

"I'm a little annoyed at the trouncing Labour got, but I'm not disillusioned," he said.

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