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Interview with Danny Healy-Rae August 18, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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The latest issue of Hot Press brings us an interview with Danny Healy-Rae, conducted by Jason O’Toole. Now some of it is predictable. He doubles down on his climate change views.

You must have felt hard done by, the amount of abuse and criticism you got over what you said about God being in charge of the weather…
No. I’m not bothered at all. Everyone is entitled to their view. I’m basing my views on facts. The facts are there and history proves it. We had the Ice Age. We had Noah’s Ark. We had all those stories. We’ve proof of the Famine in 1740, which was caused by two years of incessant rain. We lost almost a third of our people because they couldn’t feed the cattle
and the cattle starved, and they couldn’t save turf to keep themselves warm. Those are facts. There were some centuries when the country was very hot and warm and then there were different centuries with so much rain and cold. So, those are facts.

Which evinces this response:

You mentioned Noah’s Ark there. That’s not a proven fact – or do you believe everything that’s in the Bible?

The first thing I have to say to you, I never read all the Bible. But I found the Bible to be correct in many instances. I do believe that there is a God there and I believe that there is some place after. I was brought up that way, Jason.

But he’s a raft of views – though, perhaps tellingly – he strikes something of an uncertain note on many of them. Not abortion. He’s no fan of repealing the 8th. And he’s still not convinced by same sex marriage (‘what I thought was wrong with that was the little baby had no choice.’). At one point there’s this exchange:

I’m just trying to make it clear for readers. I hope you understand that.
I do. You’re doing your job, but I have to kind of mind my corner too.

He’s no time for Trump, nope, he’s supporting Clinton. But what of a vision? The closest it comes to one is this:

All we want is to create the infrastructure so that we could attract investment – like the Macroom bypass, like broadband. I feel the country will tip into the Irish Sea because all the weight of the people going into the eastern side of the country at the present time to the detriment of Kerry and the west of Ireland.

It may seem like thin stuff and some will mock but as O’Toole notes he is one of the first pair of brothers ever elected in the same constituency at the same election. Somehow, on some level, the message is resonating with a significant tranche of voters in Kerry. Worth asking how and why. An interesting interview which perhaps points to the answers to those questions. Another worth reading.

Comments»

1. Geraldus Galwensis - August 18, 2016

It’s interesting that he prefers Clinton to Trump – a pity the Hot Press reporter didn’t ask him to elaborate. Maybe Hot Press wanted a short colourful piece for its August issue leading up to Electric Picnic. Maybe we all need some light relief from the contemplation of scandals in business, church, politics and the Olympics. On a more serious note, Healy-Rae TD expresses a ‘raft of opinions’ on diverse cultural issues which are generally shared by ‘ordinary people’ in rural and urban society. Political liberals, and media pundits, in the USA, the UK, France and elsewhere, have overlooked the extent of grassroots attachment to traditional cultural values. The rise of tea party/Trump, of Ukip & voter Brexit, and Marie Le Pen FN among other phenomena should be a wakeup call that traditional values are not to be trivialised, sneered at or ignored. Be ever mindful of culture and human experience.

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Jason o'Toole - August 18, 2016

It’s hardly a short “colorful” piece as you put it, the interview is 7,000 words and runs over six pages. And, yes, Danny explains why he prefers Clinton over Trump in the interview. I’m the so-called “reporter” in question.

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2. Geraldus Galwensis - August 18, 2016

Thanks for that correction. I’ll go to my newsagent shop and buy the relevant Hot Press issue. 7,000 words seems unusual for an interview in that publication. I suppose journalists summarising the interview will tend to highlight points that will caricature the subject of the interview. Issues like economic stagnation in rural Ireland, the widespread feeling that city-based media are continually talking down to ordinary folk and the social effects of laws about alcohol limits and smoking will get less attention. Sneering will continue and grassroots displeasure will manifest itself in startling political ways.

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WorldbyStorm - August 18, 2016

I think it’s important not to have preconceptions the other way either. Most people I know here don’t assume that sneering is a good way to go. Some people do sneer, but… I think live and let live even where there’s disagreement is a lot deeper rooted than some would fear or others might like.

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3. Jason o'Toole - August 18, 2016

No worries, Yes, you really have to read the piece in full and in context to get a proper understanding of the way the man thinks – there’s a huge amount of fascinating stuff in there

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4. Gearóid - August 18, 2016

My cousin is a transplant to that constituency, one of the ones doing his piece to make sure the east side of the country doesn’t tip into the sea.

He told me about a time he dropped into a chipper at about half eleven at night. The brother, Michael, was there at a table eating a snackbox.

Over the course of about twenty minutes while he was there, he dealt with a number of people who walked over to his table. There were a few young lads who he agreed to be in a selfie picture with, but some people had genuine grievances.

The cousin told me he had at least two phones, and was making calls to third parties and then passing the aggrieved person on the phone to them, then dealing with another person, then eating a bit of his food, taking his phone back from the – apparently now satisfied – aggrieved person, making another call, maybe another selfie, another bit of food.

It might be parish pump politics on steroids, but by god it gets votes.

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5. sonofstan - August 18, 2016

It’s a crucial point. There was a lot of talk from the Spirit Level crowd above in Dublin about equality and the Nordic model a few years back, but, as well as gender and class and income equality, one of the things they’re fierce good at up above in Scandinavia is geographic equality. Denmark apart, they are all a lot bigger than Ireland, but they manage decent services at forbidding latitudes.

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6. Gewerkschaftler - August 18, 2016

What the Healy-Rae’s and other independents offer is a recognition of the limitations of their power. They will wheel and deal for you within their sphere of influence if you become a political client of theirs.

They don’t have any particular vision apart from some innate conservatism. That’s because they don’t pretend that they can make a difference on the national level. Unlike FF/FG/LP who pretend that they have some kind of national autonomy and promise the earth, while accepting the strictures of the Financial Treaty and austerian principles, and consequently failing to deliver.

Voters find the Healy-Rae’s approach to be more honest, given the general disillusion with politics. Thus their success.

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7. transformer pdf en word - August 18, 2016

It’s hardly a short “colorful” piece as you put it, the interview is 7,000 words and runs over six pages. And, yes, huum Danny explains why he prefers Clinton over Trump in the interview. I’m the so-called “reporter” in question.

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8. Geraldus Galwensis - August 18, 2016

Just an update. I went out to my newsagent over an hour ago and got the August Hot Press with the Healy-Rae interview by Jason O’Toole. I prefer a plain blunt answerer to all the two-faced college-educated wafflers who’ve done PR training courses. Danny’s views on many topics are pedestrian. His reading is confined to The Kerryman, The Examiner and the Sindo. (He doesn’t mention St. Anthony’s Messenger or Ireland’s Own.) His is an oral culture based on family conversation, funeral chat, bar chat and more chat at annual festivals and monthly fairs. He tolerates gays, but doesn’t meet them usually. His attitudes to abortion, sex and criminal attacks on householders are instinctual, not ideological. He believes, as his late dad did, in helping people who come to him. He doesn’t specify what kind of help, or whether in many instances people could help themselves without an intermediary like him. It would be interesting to know what he regards as a Just Society. Family, friends, Sunday church, bar customers, Kerry sport and local festive gatherings are his core world. He is sceptical about climate doomsayers but believes the environment should be cared for. Danny Healy-Ray in that interview comes across as an ordinary active guy who sees politics as a vocation and public service. I’d chat politely to him if I met him. We won’t get vindictive right wing politics from people like Danny, but we won’t get a dynamic alternative political culture either.

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WorldbyStorm - August 18, 2016

I’ve met DHR a few times now and while I’m entirely sure we wouldn’t agree on a range of issues – though we might on another range – I’ve found him a very pleasant and affable person. And very astute like the rest of the HRs.

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sonofstan - August 18, 2016

compare and contrast to here in England, where the voice of those forgotten by the metropolitan elites has a much nastier edge. maybe, just as the left independent syndrome is blamed here, and by me, as the reason for the lack of an effective left alternative, the same may be true of the right – if it wasn’t for the HRs and the like, would we have a UKIP/ FN of our own?

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WorldbyStorm - August 18, 2016

It seems very possible SoS. It is interesting to reflect on why we don’t have that.

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Geraldus Galwensis - August 18, 2016

We don’t have an Irish FN or Ukip because we are a basically centrist-minded population. Our remnants of aristocracy don’t have a role in national politics (Lord Henry Mountcharles of Slane failed to get elected a couple of decades ago, even though he was well in with Fine Gael) and the Big House people are regarded as quaint charming ‘others’. Local issues politics is more important than national politics, a result of the multiseat constituency system and the absence real power in the county councils. I suppose thinking individuals like Sonofstan and WBS could post special articles to try and tease out the reasons for the absence of Ukip and FN and Geert Wilders political movements in the Irish body politic.

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WorldbyStorm - August 18, 2016

Small country too, once part of an empire but in a subsidiary position, possibly the partition of the island to allow for a more immediate issue than far-right politics.

Just on all this, interesting interview with a Croatian (IIRC) immigrant yesterday in the IT saying that she didn’t encounter wolf whistles and that as a woman she found Ireland a lot less patriarchal than other places in Europe she’d been.

Discussing something along these lines with mature students a few years ago there seemed to be a consensus that women here are more assertive and less likely to take any crap than those in England for example. I wonder have others had that impression?

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sonofstan - August 18, 2016

I don’t buy that we are ‘basically a centrist minded population’ or ‘basically’ anything. That centre has been quite far to the right at times, and the blueshirts and ailtiri na hAiseirghe show that we’re not immune to the lure of the jackboot either.

But as a ‘thinking individual’ maybe I’m unable to see the plain people plainly. Roddy used to throw around those jibes about us all being ‘college educated’ too…..

@wbs – not being a woman, I wouldn’t like to hazard a guess as to the relative patriarchal dispensation here. One small thing strikes me though; no one in my institution uses the form ‘Ms’ whereas almost everyone I know in Ireland would object to anything else. On the other hand, they have access to free and legal abortion….

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WorldbyStorm - August 18, 2016

Yes, I share the same hesitancy. All the students were Irish or Scottish and all bar one were female. Not sure if that’s a representative sample but the observation struck me as interesting.

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Starkadder - August 19, 2016

“His attitudes to abortion, sex and criminal attacks on householders are instinctual, not ideological.”

Roman Catholicism is an ideology, and still a strong one in this country.

Also the “ordinary decent people versus the deracinated intellectuals” is one of the hoariest and most irritating of right-wing cliches. As if there aren’t numerous working-class people supporting Corbyn and Podemos, or voting through the
Thirty-fourth Amendment to the Irish Constitution.

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Geraldus Galwensis - August 19, 2016

@ starkadder I wasn’t referring to ‘deracinated intellectuals’ as many city-based workaday sneering journalists are hardly intellectual. If enough people in liberated zones feel Roman Catholic ideology imprisons the minds of voters in Kerry, they could collect pennies for the green babies and send crack teams of missionaries to wipe out ignorance in the dark continent of Kerry. Don’t be surprised if one or two evangelists end up in big cast iron cooking pots as the natives dance and whoop at an all-night barn dance!

Enjoy the rest of the silly season, only ten days left.

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9. Geraldus Galwensis - August 18, 2016

The blueshirts were rejected by the Cumann na nGael leadership once O’Duffy’s antijewish pro nazi sentiments became overt. They were onstage about two years and their end was humiliating. The miniscule Irish Christian Front got some media publicity for a couple of years and some episcopal verbal encouragement, but never became a parliamentary force.

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sonofstan - August 19, 2016

Only found out the other day that O’Duffy was the head of the Olympic Council of Ireland for a while

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EWI - August 20, 2016

There was a definite trend in the twentieth century for European sports to be controlled by fascist (and Nazi) types.

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10. makedoanmend - August 19, 2016

Seems HR and Corbyn have some similiarities in both style and substance. The chip shop insight is, well, insightful.

Corbyn during question times in the Big ‘Official’ talking chamber brings up individual cases to highlight common problems. Is this much different from so-called parish pump politics?

Afterall, isn’t solving problems of ordinary people, when confronted by government regulations and rules which the average punter is not an expert, part of the remit of our elected reps? The dichomotmy between national/international and local goverment seems to me to be just another neo-liberal ideoligcal weapon to sever the relationship between the voter and the state run largely for and by the corporatised elites and their followers. It seems to be a tenet of the TINA doctrine.

HR comes across a flawed human as does Corbyn. As a very flawed human myself, I find this more comforting than being confronted by a PR spun, idealogically bound, political mutant that spouts democracy on one hand whilst denying it with the other.

I couldn’t, given HR’s views, vote for him. I definitely respect why others might.

(On another note, I think Corbyn and UK Labour, in general, better start courting the ‘white van man’ in some manner again. They won’t get all the votes, but there must be some compromise combination that will bring back on board some of these ‘disgruntled’ and self-identified alienated voter-workers. I don’t know about the rest of the UK, but Scotland badly needs these voters back in Labour ranks, given Corbyn policies, to become the main opposition to the SNP.)

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11. Joe - August 19, 2016

Great thread all.
Btw, where’s Roddy? Bundoran?

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12. Brian Hanley - August 20, 2016

There is a genuine question as to why many voters in rural areas feel alienated. There is also the fact that they are often fed nonsense that they are somehow more ‘deprived’ than people in parts of Limerick or Cork cities or in Dublin. Their resentment against the so-called ‘D4’ elite is often just as focussed on the ‘wasters’ in urban areas who get ‘everything for nothing’ as it is on politicians or the media. Healy-Rae is a reactionary (sorry to used cliched left-wing terminology, must be all the time I’ve spent in Dublin); the family come from the Fianna Fáil gene-pool in more ways than one and as the CLR doesn’t have deep pockets I will chose my words carefully. Let’s just say economics play a big role in their political positions. Running with the hare and hunting with the hounds isn’t the half of it.

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