Cllr Jackie Healy-Rae needs to step aside

Political stubbornness is NEVER attractive.

That’s why Councillor Jackie Healy-Rae’s decision not to ‘step aside’ temporarily from his seat on the Joint Policing Committee - comprising politicians, Council officials and gardaí - pending his appeal against TWO assault convictions in the District Court is wrong.

His decision places other Committee members in an impossible position. How can they be expected to continue while one of their members is a convicted criminal?

Nobody questions Councillor Healy-Rae’s right to appeal his convictions.

But, he is an elected representative of the people of Kerry on the County Council and, also, on the Policing Committee which considers law and order matters.

As long as these convictions stand, his presence on the Policing Committee is unacceptable.

To maintain the reputation of the Committee, he needs to withdraw.

If he doesn’t, then it’s hard to see how other members of the Committee - including gardaí - can continue on as if nothing has happened.

Should Councillor Healy-Rae persist, the rest of the Committee would be justified in absenting themselves instead.

Otherwise this is nothing but a political absurdity.