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Saturday 17 March 2018

Happy family three -- Healy-Rae back home after 'baffling' illness

Michael Healy-Rae putting up the Christmas tree with sons Jackie and Kevin following his health scare
Michael Healy-Rae putting up the Christmas tree with sons Jackie and Kevin following his health scare

John O'Mahony and Fiach Kelly

MICHAEL Healy-Rae was back at home decorating the family Christmas tree yesterday, hours after being discharged from hospital.

The Kerry South Independent TD was rushed from the Dail on Friday complaining of stomach pains after taking part in a heated debate on social welfare cuts. But he said he was feeling much better after treatment in St James's Hospital in Dublin.

Speaking at his home in Kilgarvan, Co Kerry, Mr Healy-Rae said doctors were baffled by his illness and told him to attend his local GP for follow-up tests and monitoring.

"They did every kind of test in the world but they couldn't pin it down," he said. "The one thing they did rule out was a heart problem and that was a mighty relief."

Mr Healy-Rae, who will be 45 next month, clashed with both Social Protection Minister Joan Burton and Junior Agriculture Minister Shane McEntee minutes before he was rushed to hospital.

Earlier this year Ms Burton sacked him from the Citizens Information Board, to which he had been appointed by former Taoiseach Brian Cowen at the behest of his father Jackie Healy-Rae as part of a deal struck with the previous government.

Mr Healy-Rae was also embroiled in controversy when it was revealed 3,636 premium-rate calls were made from Leinster House, costing more than €2,600, to vote for him in RTÉ's 'Celebrities Go Wild' TV contest in 2007.

After he was taken ill on Friday, he was treated in Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett's office by Health Minister James Reilly, who asked for an ambulance to be called.

"I wasn't feeling great all that day and I couldn't finish my dinner," Mr Healy-Rae said. "As I left the canteen an usher must have noticed my colour changing because he asked me if I was alright. I told him I was actually feeling very bad so James Reilly was called."

The last thing he could remember was Dr Reilly taking his pulse.

"I had a very bad pain in my stomach and shoulder and I had awful trouble trying to catch my breath. I still feel as if somebody has stood on my chest and I'm still very sore but I'm happy that the problem isn't heart-related," Mr Healy-Rae added.

He said he was treated extremely well at St James's Hospital. He was discharged on Saturday evening, allowing him to relax at home yesterday with his wife Eileen and family.

"I helped put up the Christmas tree and I enjoyed the day," he said, adding that he expects to be fighting fit to resume his duties this week.

Mr Healy-Rae thanked his numerous well-wishers, adding, "of course, I can't forget the good Dr James Reilly''.

Irish Independent

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