Michael Healy-Rae publishes ‘A Listening Ear’

Independent TD Michael Healy-Rae recently launched his second book ‘A Listening Ear: More Stories from the Heart of Ireland’, published by Gill Books. Over 550 people turned up for the launch by comedian Tommy Tiernan in the Gleneagle Hotel in Killarney.

The Kerry TD and the comedian joined forces after the official launch of ‘A Listening Ear’ to discuss everything from politics to religion and relationships.

Music and set dancing were then led by Michael and his wife, Eileen. Music was provided by Michael’s cousin, Gerald Healy, known as the ‘singing jarvey’.

Last year, Michael published ‘Time to Talk, Stories From The Heart of Ireland’. ‘A Listening Ear’ is another collection of stories and memories gathered from his childhood on a farm in Kilgarvan, Co. Kerry, to more recent times.

Selling flowers to the Dutch

‘A business that didn’t flower’ tells the tale of a failed attempt by the TD and nine local farmers to break into the foliage industry. He sees the funny side of it as he relates telling the king and queen of The Netherlands of their efforts to sell flowers to the Dutch.

There are stories of exploits on the canvassing trail; working on the bog; Sneem’s ‘wife carrying’ contest; rebel sheep dippers; and Ireland’s oldest cow. There are fond memories of his parents and local characters and an account of Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman’s Kerry pub experience.

The decline of rural Ireland continues to be a huge concern, with small pharmacies the latest under attack, said the TD who owns a shop as well as continuing to farm.

People have to support local at all times. If you don’t use it, you will lose it. The whole way of life in rural Ireland is breaking down and we are going to have to be prepared to fight back.

The TD said that the younger generation of farmers now worry if farming will even pay as a part-time job. There is a need for farmers to stick together in their efforts to continue to press for fair and sustainable prices, he said.

What had happened in the midlands with the closure of two power plants was a ‘black sin’, with the talk of job creation there ‘hype and spin’, he contended.

‘A Listening Ear’ is priced at €16.99.