Healy-Rae 'minutes from death' when neighbour saved him
The woman who saved TD Michael Healy-Rae's life from choking by performing the Heimlich manoeuvre says the politician was "minutes from death" when she intervened.
The Kerry TD was eating his dinner at home when food became lodged in his throat.
Mr Healy-Rae's wife ran to her front door and called for help. Luckily the couple's two neighbours Eileen Finnegan and Margaret Doran rushed to the rescue.
Ms Finnegan, who works at Kenmare Hospital, told the Irish Independent that when she arrived at the scene she knew Mr Healy-Rae was in distress.
"It was clear that his airway was blocked so I knew I should administer the Heimlich manoeuvre."
Ms Finnegan said when the ambulance workers arrived they told her Mr Healy-Rae was "just minutes away from death".
The Kilgarvan deputy said the ordeal had left him unnerved but he is grateful Ms Finnegan acted with such haste.
"I got a very bad fright out of the whole ordeal," he said. "I've had numerous lucky escapes in the past but this was definitely the tightest."
Asked if he had learned any lessons from his frightening ordeal, Mr Healy-Rae said to slow down the speed at which he eats his dinner.
"The lesson I have learned is to shut my mouth from talking when eating, don't be on the phone and slow down a bit," he said.
"Last year a cow nearly got me and this year it was a chicken.
"It was as if it was set out that I wasn't meant to die because of the fact that Eileen and Margaret were around. If it wasn't for their help, including from my wife, God knows what would have happened."