Jackie Healy-Rae won't resign despite assault conviction

The 23-year-old, who was found guilty on Monday of assaulting a man two years ago, was elected as a councillor earlier this year.

Jackie Healy-Rae won't resign despite assault conviction

Jackie Healy-Rae does not intend on resigning from Kerry County Council.

The 23-year-old, who was found guilty on Monday of assaulting a man two years ago, was elected as a councillor earlier this year.

Despite the conviction, however, he is not obliged to resign.

His solicitor Padraig O’Connell, of O’Connell Solicitors in Killarney, has told the Irish Examiner he is ‘absolutely not’ going to resign.

Mr O’Connell said: “Mr Healy-Rae does not intend resigning. He is there at the will of the people.”

On the subject of an appeal to Monday’s decision, he added: “We respect the decision of the judge, we do not agree, and we are appealing the convictions.”

Healy-Rae was found guilty alongside brother Kevin and a third man, Malachy Scannell, 34, of Inchinacoosh, Kilgarvan, of assaulting Kieran James.

The sons of local TD, Michael Healy-Rae insist they acted in self-defence in the early morning incident that started in the queue of a chip van in Kenmare town square on December 28, 2017.

A scuffle broke out after, according to witnesses, Kevin Healy-Rae ‘barged’ his way to the front of the queue and was heard telling Mr James, who lives in the UK, ‘this is my town and my chip van’.

After he and Mr James exchanged words, and there was some pushing and shoving, the 22-year-old asked his older brother to help him.

Jackie Healy-Rae, of Sandymount, Kilgarvan, was then seen smiling at onlookers as he held Mr James by the neck in a headlock.

He, Kevin, and Scannell, were later seen on CCTV laughing as they walked away after a second incident during which Mr James sustained a broken nose.

The brothers later claimed to gardaí they had acted in self-defence after they were provoked by Mr James and friends he was with.

Judge David Waters, sitting in Tralee District Court said the evidence against them was very clear. He said it was important for people to realize that Jackie Healy-Rae had been faced ‘with a choice’ on the night of the chip van row.

Kevin Healy-Rae was intoxicated, he said, and ‘what happened in the chip shop queue is no different to what happens in so many towns and villages around the country’.

But he said Jackie Healy-Rae should have told his brother, when he asked him to help, that he was drunk, that they should "go home, stop".

A spokesperson for Kerry County Council said Jackie Healy-Rae does not have to resign.

The Local Government Act 2001 gives reasons how a person can be disqualified from being a member of a local authority but being found guilty of assault isn’t one of them.

What would disqualify someone includes being convicted of fraud, failing to comply with a court order to pay money due to a local authority and being jailed for more than six months.

The Healy-Raes are due to be sentenced on December 6.

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