The night Jackie Healy-Rae was elected TD for South Kerry the
scene in Killarney was like Puck Fair, the Rose of Tralee and a Kerry
for the Sam McGuire Cup rolled into one. The party went on for weeks
new TD went back over pot-holed roads to the villages and parishes
sent him to Leinster House with such a resounding mandate.
It was the culmination of over twenty years of successful local politics,
since Healy-Rae was elected to Kerry County Council in 1973. Director
elections for Fianna Fáil in numerous campaigns, he became
political strategist. But he broke from the party in controversial
before the 1997 general election. When the party refused to nominate
as a candidate he ran as an independent. Against all the odds he
headed the poll.
Within a matter of weeks, Jackie Healy-Rae was playing an important
in the formation of the new government by supporting the Fianna Fáil
-Progressive Democrat coalition...and winning important concessions
for Kerry in return.
Jackie Healy-Rae is a grassroots politician of tremendous charisma
brilliance - from his humble beginnings to his business and political
- his is a story full of craic, humour and colour.
(Extract from The Mighty Healy-Rae by Donal Hickey, published by
Marino Books in 1997.)