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28th Feb 2016

Here’s what the New York Times have to say about the Healy-Rae dynasty

Carl Kinsella

It really is a dynasty at this stage.

The Healy-Rae phenomenon, thought of by some as the very height of parish-pump parochialism in Ireland, has become a curiosity for some of the biggest international media outlets in the world.

Michael Healy-Rae and his brother Danny have been the only two confirmed TDs from the Kerry constituency so far – both having run as independents.

The New York Times was fascinated by their rise, and the scenes that unfolded after the announcement of their success.

In County Kerry, officials struggled to confirm even the first-preference results after a marathon 14-hour count — because two leading candidates, Danny and Michael Healy-Rae, are brothers and ballot counters accidentally scrambled their vote counts. Tempers frayed as a late-night recount was ordered.

With midnight approaching, Michael Healy-Rae finally was declared Kerry’s first winner. Boisterous supporters lifted the lawmaker into the air, his trademark farmer’s cap somehow staying on his head, as they sang his campaign song: “Make your vote and pray, that he goes all the way! He’s flat to the mat with his black cap, and there’s no time for tae (tea).”

The respected US paper also described the success of the Healy-Raes as “reflecting the dynastic, often nepotistic nature of Irish politics.”

Fighting words.

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