Danny Healy-Rae’s haulage firm has earned €8.7m in State contracts
Kerry TD failed to state he was a publican in Oireachtas declaration of interests
Michael (left) and Danny Healy-Rae: Earnings from State contracts revealed. Photograph: Alan Betson
A plant hire company owned by Kerry TD Danny Healy-Rae has earned €8.7 million in State and county council contracts over the past two decades.
The company, Healy-Rae Plant Hire, has secured more than €7 million in contracts from Kerry County Council since 1999, mainly to provide machinery for road works projects.
The Independent TD’s firm has also earned more than €1.6 million in contracts from Irish Water since it was set up.
Separately, his brother Michael Healy-Rae’s company Roughty Plant Hire earned €100,946 in local contracts for maintenance works in Kerry for the Health Service Executive and the county council between 2011 and 2014.
Documents detailing the amount the two companies have made from State contracts were released to The Irish Times under the Freedom of Information Act.
The brothers are both the directors of their respective companies, according to the firms’ financial returns.
The two Kerry TDs declared the companies in their annual “register of members’ interests”, which every deputy has to submit to the Oireachtas.
Danny Healy-Rae is also a publican, an occupation he initially failed to declare in his register of interests return last year. The Kerry TD’s declaration of interests for 2016 was amended on March 10th this year, to include the fact he owns a pub in Kerry.
Mr Healy-Rae, an outspoken critic of legislation proposed by Minister for Transport Shane Ross to introduce stricter drink driving penalties, said the omission of his occupation as a publican was an oversight when filing his declaration. “It’s no secret I own a pub, I practically sleep in the place,” he told The Irish Times. He declined to comment on his firm’s contracts.
Danny Healy-Rae was co-opted onto Kerry County Council in 2003 to fill his father Jackie Healy-Rae’s seat. Michael Healy-Rae was elected to the council in 1999, and then to the Dáil in 2011.
Figures from the past 20 years show Healy-Rae Plant Hire has routinely been one of Kerry County Council’s largest contractors for haulage machine hire. Last year, the company earned €209,405 from council contracts.
In 2007, it secured €762,797 in contracts from Kerry County Council, and €679,019 in 2008.
In the Dáil last February Danny Healy-Rae spoke during a debate on procurement legislation to call for the qualification criteria for State contracts be loosened to help local businesses bid on tenders.
He outlined during the debate that he “was involved in a small way in a plant-hire business”, according to the Dáil record.
Between them, the two brothers have tabled 57 written parliamentary questions to the Minister of Transport petitioning for more investment in Kerry’s road infrastructure.
Michael Healy-Rae declined to comment when contacted.
Danny Healy-Rae’s son, Johnny, now runs the day-to-day operations of the business. Johnny was co-opted onto the Kerry County Council to fill Michael Healy-Rae’s seat in 2011.
The council has held ethics investigations into Danny Healy-Rae over potential conflicts of interests.
In 2004, Danny Healy-Rae put down a motion at a council meeting to increase the local authority’s hedge cutting programme. Following a complaint by another councillor, an internal inquiry was instigated because Mr Healy-Rae’s plant-hire firm had previously tendered for hedge cutting contracts.
Another ethics investigation was undertaken by the council in 2009 after Danny Healy-Rae did not excuse himself from a debate on whether the local authority should cap the amount a plant-hire contractor can receive for works from the council at €120,000 a year.
A spokesman for Kerry County Council said “following investigations, no adverse findings were made against any individuals concerned” .