Donald Trump and the Page from ‘The Healy Raes’

Did Donald Trump take a page from Donal Hickey’s book ‘The Healy Raes’ and learn how to garner the grass roots vote? Screenshot from The Maine Valley Post, February 2016.

I’ve no direct number for Sonny and Lily O’Reilly. If I had I’d ring them this morning and advise them to let their son Paddy doze away for another while.

He’ll get a right land when he wakes up today and finds that his favourite, American female politician, Hillary Clinton couldn’t get on top of Donald Trump in the race for the White House.

Paddy had a €100 wager riding on Mrs. Clinton and was looking forward to cashing that in today.

Amazingly Historic Night

It was an amazingly historic night – whatever your opinion or politics. Listening to Ryan Tubridy this morning, and hearing how the Doonbeg wing of the Trump empire is treating the village there as a good neighbour should, provides us with a new perspective on the man so demonised in the world’s media – to date.

Last night’s result really proves that people are making up their own minds and what an underestimated and powerful tool social media has become.

Tubridy's Bar in Doonbeg is likely to host the new American president as a neighbour and friend soon. ©Photograph: John Reidy 07/06/2016
Tubridy’s Bar in Doonbeg is likely to host the new American president as a neighbour and friend soon. ©Photograph: John Reidy 07/06/2016

Trump’s Business Interests

During a stop in Kilrush last summer, where I spotted a sign for Donald Trump’s business interests, I asked locals about Irish political leaders turning up their noses and talking about snubbing Mr. Trump on visits to Ireland.

Their attitudes were that no local politician would dare go against what was happening with the huge development on the golf course and hotel in Doonbeg.

Their responses also included a query on which politician of the baying mob came to visit them asking about the state of the local economy in recent memory. When they do, they’ll be as welcome as they’ve made Mr. Trump and his family there.

There are reports that ‘President Trump’ went into areas in America where people hadn’t seen a politician in their lifetimes.

The Healy Raes

Does that attitude to election time ‘canvassing’ remind you of anyone on the Irish political landscape ?

When he launched his latest book The Healy Raes around this time last year, Donal Hickey outlined the late Jackie Healy Rae’s industrious ‘don’t miss a hand’ attitude to canvassing his electoral areas.

Donal’s book was spotted by journalist, Cormac MacConnell, who has been penning a popular column in the New York-published paper for 25 years.

MacConnell urged then US Republican presidential hopeful, Donald Trump to take a leaf out of the Healy-Rae book.

The fame of the Kerry political dynasty spread to America where the Irish Voice newspaper, read widely by the diaspora, devoted column inches and website space on to the Healy-Rae phenomenon.

Colourful and Flamboyant

Cormac MacConnell told his Irish-American readers they might think they have a very colourful and flamboyant character in Trump, but he doesn’t match the late Jackie Healy-Rae.
“Jackie Healy-Rae, born in poverty in hard times on a tiny Kerry mountain farm, beats Donald Trump into a cocked hat on every point of the scale,’’ writes MacConnell.

‘’If Donald Trump wants some tips on how to captivate the grass roots of your states he should lay his hands as quickly as possible on Donal Hickey’s highly entertaining history of the dynasty,” he wrote.

Response from Michael Healy Rae

Michael Healy Rae, TD - we should congratulate America's new president, Mr. Trump. ©Photograph: John Reidy
Michael Healy Rae, TD – we should congratulate America’s new president, Mr. Trump. ©Photograph: John Reidy

I was just about to let this piece off when I got the following from Michael Healy Rae, TD. Though he’s an American citizen, Michael Healy Rae did not vote in the US presidential election. If he did, for whom would he vote? Or does his ‘We are where we are’ approach to the result answer the question. He was at a committee meeting in Dáil Éireann when I tried to contact him this morning.

“We are where we are” – A Statement From Michael Healy-Rae, TD on President Elect Donald Trump.
Whether you like President Elect Donald Trump or not, we are where we are, it is time to congratulate him and to work in conjunction with him and others for the betterment of society.
I would hope that President Elect Trump will value the Irish people for what we are, hard workers and a country that has had great relations with America in the past.
I wish him well in his endeavours.
Regards, Michael Healy-Rae T.D., Sandymount, Kilgarvan Co.Kerry. Office Number: 01 61 83 363

You can read Cormac MacConnell’s article by clicking on the link here:—Donald-Trump-could-get-some-tips-from-the-Healy-Raes.html

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