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Family's bedside vigil for for Jackie

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Jackie Healy-Rae,the former (retired) Independent deputy for Kerry South

Jackie Healy-Rae,the former (retired) Independent deputy for Kerry South

Jackie Healy-Rae,the former (retired) Independent deputy for Kerry South

THE family of former Independent TD, Jackie Healy-Rae, has been maintaining a vigil at his hospital bedside since he took ill earlier this week.

Mr Healy-Rae (83) was rushed to Kerry General Hospital (KGH) on Monday afternoon suffering from suspected pneumonia.

He was moved to the intensive care unit that day but his family confirmed his condition has not improved in recent days.

The veteran politician, who served as a TD for South Kerry between 1997 and 2011, is now in the hospital's coronary care unit.

His son, Independent TD Michael Healy-Rae told the Herald, his dad was still "very unwell".

"He's been in and out of hospital with different things in recent months but this is by far the sickest he has been," he said. "He hasn't really picked up that much since he came in."

All week his family has gathered at the hospital in Tralee hoping for an improvement in his condition.

Mr Healy-Rae was first admitted to hospital last May for an operation on his knee.

Discharged

He bravely discharged himself temporarily on polling day, May 23, so that he could support his grandson Johnny, who was seeking election to Kerry County Council for the first time.

Johnny served on the council since his co-option to replace his uncle Michael in 2011, following his election to the Dail.

At the time Mr Healy-Rae had a simple explanation for his decision to leave his hospital bed saying: "I could not let my grandson down."

His son, Danny, who is also a member of the local authority said he'd developed a lot of complications since that operation.

"Over the years he didn't get much sleep I can tell you that," Danny Healy-Rae said.

"Sure he was nearly 80 by the time he left Dail Eireann, he was on the go constantly day and night. He didn't have many easy days and maybe now that's taking its toll.

"But look he's strong in other ways and can come through this," he added.

Jackie Healy-Rae shocked political commentators when he left the Fianna Fail party to run as an Independent candidate at the 1997 general election.

He duly topped the poll in the Kerry South constituency and held onto his seat until 2011 when his son Michael succeeded him.

hnews@herald.ie


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