Saturday 21 April 2018

Healy-Raes strongly reject all charges of 'double standards'

Left: Danny Healy Rae strutting his stuff on the catwalk at the St Paul’s Basketball Club Killarney fashion show at Killarney Racecourse. Photo: Eamonn Keogh
Left: Danny Healy Rae strutting his stuff on the catwalk at the St Paul’s Basketball Club Killarney fashion show at Killarney Racecourse. Photo: Eamonn Keogh
His brother and fellow TD Michael at the fashion show in Kerry with local model Karen Bruton. Photo: Eamonn Keogh
John Downing

John Downing

Colourful Kerry Independent TD Michael Healy-Rae has defended his own and his brother's actions in relation to controversial property auctions and work contracts for Irish Water.

He brushed aside allegations of double standards in his own and his brother and fellow TD Danny Healy-Rae's condemnations of Irish Water, advising rural voters not to return forms to the utility. He said the strong criticisms should not stop his brother's plant-hire firm taking contracts with Irish Water because it was a continuation of contracts the family firm had over past decades with Kerry County Council water services.

"Work that was previously done by Kerry County Council is now being done by Irish Water. That's just the way it is," Mr Healy-Rae told RTÉ's 'The Week In Politics'.

Mr Healy-Rae said he and his brother stood over their strong criticisms of Irish Water, the way it was set up and its flawed workings. He said his father and uncle began a family firm link with Kerry County Council which dated back 50 years.

Similarly, Mr Healy-Rae argued that his own decision in February of last year to buy a house in Castleisland, Co Kerry, for €52,500, did not conflict with his disruption of an auction of distressed properties in July 2013.

Michael Healy-Rae said he and fellow Independent TDs Mattie McGrath and Tom Fleming had protested at this auction run by the Allsop firm because people were losing their homes.

He insisted that the Castleisland purchase did not involve any person losing out and that the TDs' protests had helped arrive at a position where such auctions did not involve disputed properties and/or evictions.

The Kerry poll-topper, who was joined by his brother Danny in an extraordinary Dáil election win on February 26, also criticised Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil for their failure to sit down and talk about government options. He said this was necessary to let other political groups and Independents know where they stood in the quest for government.

"Even if they were only able to tell us that it was not possible for them to co-operate in government, it would help," Mr Healy-Rae said.

The Kerry TD, whose father spent decades as a Fianna Fáil activist before going Independent in 1997, said he was more impressed by Fine Gael's approach to talks with Independent TDs at the moment.

But he could not speculate on what he would do in the next expected Dáil vote for Taoiseach, which is due on April 6.

Mr Healy-Rae said speculation linking him with a new post as Minister for Rural Affairs was without basis.

This arose from him advocating the creation of such a post as an important signal to rural Ireland that "life did not end at the Red Cow junction".

Irish Independent

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