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Emotional Kerry farewell as Jackie Healy-Rae laid to rest

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Deputy Michael Healy-Rae and Cllr Danny Healy-Rae carrying the coffin of their father  Jackie Healy-Rae  past his pub in Kilgarvan village following his funeral at Patrick's Church, Kilgarvan, Co. Kerry on Monday.  Picture: Eamonn Keogh ( MacMonagle, Killarney)

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae and Cllr Danny Healy-Rae carrying the coffin of their father Jackie Healy-Rae past his pub in Kilgarvan village following his funeral at Patrick's Church, Kilgarvan, Co. Kerry on Monday. Picture: Eamonn Keogh ( MacMonagle, Killarney)

Former Taoisigh Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen at the funeral of former South Kerry TD Jackie Healy-Rae in Kilgarvan, County Kerry on Monday.

Former Taoisigh Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen at the funeral of former South Kerry TD Jackie Healy-Rae in Kilgarvan, County Kerry on Monday.

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Deputy Michael Healy-Rae and Cllr Danny Healy-Rae carrying the coffin of their father Jackie Healy-Rae past his pub in Kilgarvan village following his funeral at Patrick's Church, Kilgarvan, Co. Kerry on Monday. Picture: Eamonn Keogh ( MacMonagle, Killarney)

JACKIE Healy-Rae's son Michael invited politicians to spend some time in Kerry to see the good use his father made from the money he got from Fianna Fail governments in return for his support.

It was one of the lighter moments in the funeral mass of the former Independent TD and one that drew spontaneous applause from the hundreds of mourners that had packed into St Patrick's Church in Kilgarvan.

Among them were former Taoisigh Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen (inset), Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin and Independent TDs Michael Lowry, Tom Fleming, Shane Ross, Mattie McGrath, and former Justice Minister Dermot Ahern.

The President was represented by his aide de camp Lieutenant Commander Patricia Butler and Taoiseach Enda Kenny was represented by his aide de camp, Commandant Kieran Carey.

"Ye can see that it wasn't wasted. It didn't go astray, it was taken beyond the Red Cow roundabout and down here where it was wanted," his TD son Michael said.

Mr Healy-Rae (83) passed away at Kerry General Hospital on Friday, following a long illness.

Music

But his son said his life wasn't all about politics and in his younger days his life was taken up with farming, music and sport.

He said his father had asked him to deliver one final message to the "plain people of Ireland" he loved so well.

"What he asked me to say was, 'thanks a thousand million for everything and don't worry, I will be keeping a close eye on ye all from above," he said.

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern also paid tribute.

"He loved this country here and he fought tooth and nail for it and that was all he ever wanted but he had his own unique style," he said.

Brian Cowen described him as a great character who was known by his people and knew them.

"He was a personality. An unforgettable figure and if you met him once you'd remember his name the next time," Mr Cowen added.

Mr Healy-Rae is survived by his partner Kathleen Cahill, his children Denis, Danny, John, Michael, Rosemary and Joan and their mother Julie, his partner's daughter Antoinette and her daughter Katie, brothers, sisters, and grandchildren.

hnews@herald.ie


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