Healy was a journalist with The Irish Times newspaper, writing the Backbencher column in the 1960s and 1970s. Healy"s book Number One Shouted Stop (The Death of an Irish Town), published in 1968, chronicled the economic and social decline of rural life in the west of Ireland in a time of widespread poverty and mass emigration. He also wrote Nineteen Acres on the history and lifestyle of his family, who were small farmers.
Healy was a strong Fianna Fáil supporter and one of the most fervent journalistic supporters and admirers of both Donagh O"Malley and Charles Haughey.
In March 2007, a RTÉ radio journalist visited Charlestown and assessed the changes in Healy"s hometown in the forty years since the writing of his book Honours and places bearing his name include the Western Development Commission/John Healy Awards, the N5 Charlestown bypass, and the John Healy Western People Awards.