Kerry councillor in hospital after 'land-related' altercation

Mon, May 17, 2010, 01:00

KERRY COUNTY councillor Danny Healy-Rae was being treated in hospital yesterday following what has been described by sources as an altercation involving a dispute about land.

He was one of two men hospitalised after the incident on Saturday, which took place on the main road near the village of Kilgarvan, where Mr Healy-Rae owns a pub and farm.

The councillor, a father of six and the eldest of six children of the Kerry South TD Jackie Healy-Rae, was in a stable condition yesterday. Gardaí in Kenmare confirmed an incident had taken place involving two men and said they were investigating it.

Gardaí were called to the scene near the townland of Fossa, where Mr Healy-Rae owns farmland, at lunchtime on Saturday.

It is understood the row is “land-related” and may centre on a disputed right of way.

A number of people were at the scene of the altercation near the Kilgarvan GAA grounds. Assistance was summoned, including gardaí and medical assistance.

Ambulances arrived at the scene and the two men involved in the altercation, Mr Healy-Rae and another man, were removed to Kerry General Hospital.

The second man was treated for his injuries and later discharged. Cllr Healy-Rae, however, remained in hospital and will most likely miss a crucial meeting this morning at nearby Áras an Chontae in Tralee, where there are proposals to dezone large tracts of land in the mid-Kerry area.

Mr Healy-Rae is opposed to the controversial dezoning proposals, saying the market should be allowed dictate the demand for development land and the consumer could only benefit from competition in the long term.

Cllr Michael Healy-Rae said yesterday his brother was undergoing scans and tests. He had visited him on Saturday night and Danny Healy-Rae had injuries to bones in his back and had facial injuries, but was not in a serious condition.

“Everyone was very concerned as to the extent of his injuries,” Cllr Michael Healy-Rae said.

A publican and plant hire operator, whose company is regularly among the highest-earning plant-hire contractors to Kerry County Council, Danny Healy-Rae (Independent) is a hugely popular figure on the council.

He topped the poll in the Killarney electoral area in 2009, some 603 votes above the quota, and ahead of Fianna Fáil, other strong independents and the other parties. This was regarded as a stunning achievement in the light of boundary changes prior to the local elections that saw his own village of Kilgarvan removed from the Killarney electoral area, and much of his traditional support eroded.