Healy-Rae outlines price of support


Independent Kerry TD Jackie Healy-Rae today said a budgetary commitment for a Tralee bypass and funding for a Kenmare hospital were among "several things" the Government was required to follow through on to ensure his continued support.

"I will be looking for a commitment for the Tralee bypass. . . . I believe that the Tralee bypass is vital to be done, and we’ll have to get it done," he said during a radio interview today.

When questioned as to whether he would end his support for the budget if he were refused the project, Mr Healy-Rae said there was “no indication we are going to be refused”.

"I have a lot of other things cooking at the present time," the TD said referring to other pledges he was seeking in relation to Kerry.

He added his son Cllr Michael Healy-Rae would be meeting Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan soon.

The recent resignation of Donegal TD Jim McDaid has left the Government at the mercy of two Independents to get one of the toughest budgets in the State’s history through the Dáil.

With the departure of Dr McDaid the Coalition’s Dáil majority is now 82 to 79 for the combined Opposition. That majority includes the two Independent TDs, Michael Lowry and Mr Healy-Rae.

Earlier this week, Mr Lowry said there was now a serious danger that the budget would not be passed. “Obviously Jackie Healy-Rae’s and my support is now more crucial than it has been in the past, but in my mind all of the time is that the country is on the brink of losing its economic independence,” he said.