A Star launch for Michael Healy Rae's literary debut

Michael Healy Rae publishes Time to Talk, a collection of stories of things that happened to him 'along the way'

Sinead Kelleher

It is the book that is definitely set to be one of the Christmas best-sellers  and given some of the humorous and thought-provoking tales contained in it readers will be delighted with the stories shared by the colourful and popular Kilgarvan politician in his book.

'Time to Talk: Stories from the Heart of Ireland' is Micheal Healy Rae's literary debut which was officially launched by Kerry GAA Star Kieran Donaghy, at the Gleneagle Hotel in Killarney on Tuesday night last has now hit bookshelves  across the county.  But the book is not a memoir, rather 'stories of his life along the way'.

"It is stories about people I know and things that happened to me along the way," explains Deputy Healy Rae this week ahead of the launch on Tuesday.

The book he says is a "political free zone". He said that the idea of the book was first mooted by the publisher but he refused as he did not have the time to sit and recount this memories. However, a solution was found with a ghost writer, Tara King, employed to collect Deputy Healy Rae's stories with one proviso - that he would only talk to her after midnight as he is so busy until then each day.

"I wouldn't have the time during the ordinary working day so I would ring her between 12pm and 7am and  I would tell her the stories," he said.

"There are funny stories and serious stories," explains Deputy Healy Rae.  Among his favourite stories is one where a constituent asked to him to bring his leg to his home place to be buried. Michael duly took on the task which also included finding a priest and some-one to dig the grave for the leg.

"It was the black dark of night and here I was trying to bury a leg," recalls Deputy Healy Rae.  Another favourite part of the book relates to the stories from the pub in Kilgarvan which the family ran and where council workers and forestry workers gathered for a pint in the evening and told tales from their work days.  There are also stories from his younger days and one of his first money making ideas which led to him selling poitín to fund his time in Pallaskenry Agricultural College. As he now has an off-licence, this first role was not wholly misspent.