Kerry politician Michael Healy Rae, scion of the famous Healy Rae political dynasty, has called for a reduction in the number of road signs on Irish roads on the basis that they're a "waste" of taxpayers' money.
The Independent politician's latest publicity stunt comes after a high profile appearance on the charity television show Celebrities Gone Wild
resulted in a phone use debacle in which the TD stood accused of making over 3,500 unauthorized calls from official Leinster House phones to curry favor with voters.
The controversial politician's statements have taken a turn for the bizarre recently, though, prompting questions about his fitness for office.Another suggestion
raised just this February saw the younger Healy-Rae "urging" the government to amend its vehicle registration system so that next year's batch of newly registered motor-cars do not bear the unlucky '13' at the start of their number-plates.
The idea, unfortunately, did not find favor with Irish garage-owners, who unsurprisingly dismissed the ideas as superstitious garbage.
Healy-Rae, whose unusual political practices reportedly include a propensity for canvassing on donkeys, is one of two political sons of the infamous Jackie Healy-Rae, a rural independent politician who retired his Dáil seat last year, at 81 years of age, and the brother of Councillor Danny Healy Rae, a Kerry County Councillor last notably involved
in a "dispute" over a field.
The altercation left the Councillor hospitalized after a longstanding confrontation about right-of-ways adjoining to a farm road turned violent.
The Healy-Raes have, for decades, been a staple source of amusement and satire in Irish politics, but Michael Healy-Rae's latest proposal could well be his strangest yet, although it's not hard to imagine the cost-saving that a programme of uprooting Irish road signs would results in.
His idea that: "Persons living on local roads, pulling out on to national primary routes, are now seeing signs directing them to their nearest town or village, which they are perfectly capable of finding without having the NRA putting up signs to direct them as to where they are to go," was met by Transport Minister Leo Varadkar's obvious answer that road signs "exist to serve visitors to an area, who would not have such knowledge [of where to go]", while the National Road Authority - the government authority responsible for maintaining and installing Ireland's road signage - added, in a similar vein, that signage is for "people traveling to and through a region".
The idea may be crazy but at a time dominated by debates about the householder tax and other such big issues of the day the amusement and laughter that the Healy Raes' outlandish proposals reliably generate is very welcome.