Wednesday 21 August 2019

Jackie Healy-Rae's €100m deal for Kerry for supporting Bertie

The late Jackie Healy-Rae
The late Jackie Healy-Rae

Majella O Sullivan

Jackie Healy-Rae's price for supporting Bertie Ahern's government after the 2007 general election was a €100m bonanza for the kingdom.

The full text of the controversial deal appears in a new book: The Healy-Raes - A Twenty-Four Seven Political Legacy, written by Donal Hickey to be launched today in Kilgarvan, County Kerry.

The agreement was declared confidential at the time it was struck, shortly after the 2007 election, and because it was signed by Bertie Ahern TD, as Uachtarán Fhianna Fáil (president), could not be obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

It details the projected spending of almost €66m in road works and improvements for 26 Kerry roads.

In addition, bringing the final demand well over the €100m mark, was the construction of Dingle Hospital and the extension of Kenmare Hospital.

But when the crash happened in 2008, it was soon clear that there was simply no money in the State coffers to pay for Healy-Rae's shopping list.

Hickey notes that by mid 2009, both Healy-Rae and Michael Lowry conceded that cuts would have to be made to their deals because of the economic climate.

"Healy-Rae was being realistic. For example, his 2007 agreement included €4m to replace one of Kerry's most notorious bridges at Barraduff.

"But at a meeting with then Transport Minister, Noel Dempsey, he agreed to the existing bridge being widened and the road realigned at a considerably lesser cost of just €1.5m," says Donal Hickey.

His agreement also gave him access to members of Government and Dail speaking time, out of the government's allocation.

Sunday Independent

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