Michael Healy-Rae

Michael Healy-Rae (born 9 January 1967) is an Irish Independent politician who has been a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Kerry constituency since 2016, and previously from 2011 to 2016 for the Kerry South constituency. He was appointed Chair of the Committee on European Union Affairs in April 2016.[1]

Michael Healy-Rae

Chair of the Committee on European Union Affairs
Assumed office
4 April 2016
Preceded byDominic Hannigan
Teachta Dála
Assumed office
February 2016
In office
February 2011  February 2016
ConstituencyKerry South
Personal details
Born (1967-01-09) 9 January 1967
Kilgarvan, County Kerry, Ireland
Political partyIndependent
Spouse(s)Eileen Healy-Rae (m. 1989)
Alma materLimerick Institute of Technology

Prior to entering national politics, he was involved in local politics in County Kerry and pursued business interests.[2]

Family life

He is the youngest son of Jackie Healy-Rae, who was a TD for Kerry South from 1997 to 2011, and a brother of Danny Healy-Rae who is also a TD. His mother, Julie Healy, was born in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., but grew up in New York City, New York.[3]

Local politics

Healy-Rae is a former member of Kerry County Council, and was first elected to the Council at the 1999 local elections, representing the Killorglin electoral area.[4] He retained his seat with an increased vote at the 2004 local elections.[4][5]

Reality television

In autumn 2007, Michael Healy-Rae took part in a reality television show on RTÉ called Celebrities Go Wild, set in the "unforgiving landscapes" of Connemara. He emerged as the winner, having received the largest number of votes from the "viewing public". In June 2011, news broke of a voting scandal, for which journalist Senan Molony received the award for "Scoop of the Year" at the National Newspapers of Ireland's Journalism Awards.[6][7] It was revealed that Healy-Rae had received 3,636 votes, from a phone in Leinster House, at a cost of €2,600 to the Irish taxpayer, the premium-rate calls being charged on a tariff designed to raise money for charity.[8] Only limited information was available as to how the calls were made. Speculation that an automated dialler had been employed was discounted by the Irish Independent, which suggested they were made over 31 hours using "redial" .[9] The Ceann Comhairle Seán Barrett, described it as "an outrageous abuse of facilities", while the Taoiseach Enda Kenny, said the money spent on the calls should be paid back.[10] On 29 June 2011, Healy-Rae said that while he was not involved in the calls, he would pay the money back.[10]

In October 2017, Healy-Rae appeared on Livin' with Lucy.[11]

National politics

Healy-Rae was elected for the Kerry South constituency at the 2011 general election, when his father Jackie retired from national politics. He, like fellow Independents Michael Lowry and Noel Grealish, were not members of the Technical group in the 31st Dáil. He missed two-thirds of votes in his first Dáil term, despite being signed in for his expenses on each day a vote was taken.[12]

Healy-Rae was appointed to the board of the Citizens' Information Board in April 2009. He was asked twice to resign his position from the board because of a conflict of interest between his subsequent membership of the Dáil and his membership of a body advising the Minister for Social Protection. After he refused to resign, the Minister dismissed him in July 2011.[13][14]

On 9 December 2011, having earlier participated in a debate on social welfare, he took ill at Leinster House and was advised to leave the Dáil chamber. Health minister James Reilly, a medical doctor, tended to him outside the chamber, he was brought from Leinster House on a stretcher, placed in an ambulance and rushed to St. James's Hospital.[15][16]

His political platform includes opposition to tighter controls on drinking and driving.[17] His father and brother have also expressed similar views on such legislation.[18] In January 2012, Healy-Rae proposed changing Ireland's number plate system so that the supposedly unlucky number 13 would be dropped for the year 2013 to save the Irish car industry.[19][20]

Healy-Rae has raised The Hum in Dáil Éireann after witnessing it himself while meeting some of his constituents who were "nearly gone out of their minds" with it. The official response he received, was described by Healy-Rae as "away with the fairies gobbledygook."[21]

He topped the poll in Kerry at the 2016 general election; his brother Danny was elected alongside him. This was the first time that two siblings from the same constituency were elected to the Dáil.[22] A short while later, on the evening of 20 March 2016, Michael Healy-Rae experienced being unintentionally "tossed around by a cow" who was after calving in a shed at his farm near Kilgarvan. He was taken to hospital with his injuries.[23]


  • Time to Talk: Stories from the Heart of Ireland, Gill, Ireland 2018.
  • A Listening Ear: More Stories from the Heart of Ireland, Gill, Ireland 2019.


  1. "Michael Healy-Rae". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 29 June 2011.
  2. "TD does son's grass cutting". Retrieved 6 May 2013.
  3. O'Sullivan, Majella (1 March 2011). "Trip to 'motherland' changed Irish politics forever". Irish Independent.
  4. "Michael Healy-Rae". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 27 February 2011.
  5. "We pay €1,300 every time Michael Healy-Rae comes to Dublin". TheJournal.ie. 14 September 2010. Archived from the original on 21 July 2011.
  6. "Irish Times biggest winner at national newspaper awards". The Journal. 27 October 2011. Retrieved 27 October 2011.
  7. McGreevy, Ronan (27 October 2011). "'Irish Times' journalists win top awards". The Irish Times.
  8. "Inquiry into Dáil calls to TV show sought". RTÉ News. 28 June 2011.
  9. Sheahan, Fionnan (1 August 2011). "Dail TV call blitz took 31 hours". Irish Independent.
  10. "Healy-Rae to pay phone money". The Irish Times. 29 June 2011.
  11. "Why Michael Healy Rae wears that flat cap and 8 other things we learned from tonight's Living with Lucy". Irish Independent. 10 October 2017. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
  12. Kelly, Fiach (2 August 2011). "TDs check in for Dail cash but not for votes: Healy-Rae among poorest records". Irish Independent.
  13. Cullen, Paul (4 July 2011). "Healy-Rae remains silent over his removal from board". The Irish Times.
  14. "Michael Healy-Rae removed from State agency". RTÉ News. 3 July 2011.
  15. Michael Healy-Rae hospitalised after taking ill in the Dáil
  16. Independent TD Michael Healy-Rae hospitalised
  17. "Naming our new 'orphan' bridge". The Munster Express. 27 October 2009.
  18. "Alcohol has nothing to do with road deaths, insists Healy-Rae". Irish Independent. 7 November 2009.
  19. Reilly, Gavan. "Drop '13′ from next year's numberplates to save car industry, urges Healy-Rae". TheJournal.ie. Retrieved 18 February 2012.
  20. "Written Answers – Motor Industry". Dáil Éireann Debate Vol. 752, No. 2, pp.62. Oireachtas. 19 January 2012. Retrieved 18 February 2012.
  21. O'Mahony, John (3 April 2012). "Locals despair as 'The Hum' makes life a living hell". Irish Examiner.
  22. McGuill, Dan (28 February 2016). "Michael and Danny will be the first siblings elected to the same constituency". TheJournal.ie.
  23. Lucey, Ann (21 March 2016). "Michael Healy-Rae 'tossed around by a cow' on farm". The Irish Times.
Preceded by
Jackie Healy-Rae
Independent Teachta Dála for Kerry South
Constituency abolished
Preceded by
New constituency
Independent Teachta Dála for Kerry
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