Belfast Telegraph

Independent TD Dr Michael Harty not seeking re-election

Dr Harty says it has not been possible to source a locum doctor to take his place for another four years.

Dr Michael Harty will return to general practice (Andrew Matthews/PA)
Dr Michael Harty will return to general practice (Andrew Matthews/PA)

By Aoife Moore, PA

Independent TD Dr Michael Harty will not seek to return to the Dail in any upcoming election, and will return to his GP practice.

Dr Harty released a statement on Monday detailing his decision, noting “personal and professional reasons”.

Dr Harty, an independent TD for Clare, single-handedly ran a rural GP practice in the country for 32 years. His decision to enter politics in 2016 was sparked by his involvement in grassroots campaign: No Doctor No Village.

The campaign was founded in response to the “crisis in rural general practice resulting from government neglect of the rural healthcare system”, as general practice continues to struggle with recruitment, especially in rural areas of Ireland.

It is now not possible to fulfil both commitments. I have had to make a choice between seeking re-election or keeping my promise to my local community. I have chosen the latter

Now, Dr Harty says it has not been possible to source a locum doctor to take his place for another four years, and he will return to his clinic.

“At the outset, as a leader of the No Doctor No Village campaign, I committed to maintain general practice services in Kilmihil by putting in place a locum GP, while taking my seat as an Independent TD to fulfil all the responsibilities and duties associated with that position both nationally and locally,” a statement said.

“Finding a full-time locum GP has proved increasingly difficult over the years.

“It is now not possible to fulfil both commitments. I have had to make a choice between seeking re-election or keeping my promise to my local community. I have chosen the latter.

“I hope the imminent election campaign will be fair and robust, allowing all candidates to put forwards their ideas and policies clearly so that the people can make an informed choice.”

Dr Harty is currently chairman of the Joint Oireacthas Health Committee and last year voted against Health Minister Simon Harris in a motion of no-confidence over the spiralling costs of the National Children’s Hospital.

Dr Harty’s resignation opens up a seat in the Clare constituency, which currently has one Fianna Fail, and two Fine Gael TDs.

PA

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