A row has erupted in Kerry after members of the Healy-Rae political dynasty were accused of “shamelessly” taking credit for the work of other councillors.
The latest accusation, which emerged on social media, centres on the replacement of old water pipes in Castleisland, with Independent TD Danny Healy-Rae claiming Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil joined forces in an “orchestrated and targeted” campaign against him in a series of attacks. He, and not his brother Michael, was being singled out, he added.
The latest row began after Fine Gael councillor Bobby O’Connell posted on Facebook about “new water pipes and old political opportunism”.
Mr O’Connell, who runs the Poet’s Inn in Castleisland, attacked Mr Healy-Rae and his daughter, councillor Maura Healy-Rae, for sending out notes about being “delighted” at getting Irish Water to carry out the €250,000 replacement of 700m of pipes on Main St.
However, Mr O’Connell said it was he who moved matters at council level.
“But this is nothing new,” he continued. “Typical political opportunism.”
Mr O’Connell accusedHealy-Rae supporters of being “naive”, and said Mr Healy-Rae and his daughter “shamelessly” attach themselves to announcements.
Fianna Fáil councillor Niall Kelleher supported the post, saying that not a week went by “but any work done by any councillor is being claimed by the Healy-Raes”.
However, Mr Healy-Rae hit back, saying Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael had joined forces and were “targeting his seat”, he said.
“They don’t attack Michael at all, but they think I am the one to be taken out,” he said.
Mr Healy-Rae believes a campaign is being orchestrated “nationally and locally” by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael against some Independents.
In June, Ms Healy-Rae lost her bid to be appointed mayor of Killarney. With the support of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, the prestigious position went to a rival of the Healy-Raes, the Independent Brendan Cronin.
Meanwhile, the funeral practices of the Healy-Raes have also been criticised. This began in the summer, when Fianna Fáil councillor Michael Cahill hit out at the Healy-Raes’ practice of sending “bereavement packs”. Fianna Fáil councillors also complained privately about the number of funerals attended by the Healy- Raes.
A row is also brewing over the decision by a council committee to get rid of its book of condolence. In order to streamline votes of sympathy at council meetings, a book was made available at the start of each meeting so members could propose a vote of sympathy. The council executive would then write formally to the family of the deceased, detailing who proposed the expression of sympathy.
However, councillors said the Healy-Raes were arriving early to meetings, and filling the book. Councillor Johnny Healy-Rae recently called for the return of the Book of Condolence.
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