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‘Dr Harty was softly softly, we need a loud Independent’ – David Barrett

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Oireachtas TV stemmed his interest in Irish politics, David Barrett (IND) is now vying to win himself a seat in one of the houses of the Oireacthas.

David Barrett FACTFILE
Occupation – Engineer
Family – Married to Jane. Has two sisters.
DOB: Born in 1966
Schools/Colleges – Melhampton, Hampton Primary School, Hampton Senior High, Curtin Universirty
Political CV – Founded the Moderates Party.
Top 3 priorities – Health, Balanced Industry in Clare, Farming/Fisheries
Something the electorate don’t know about you – I have lived and worked in Australia, the USA, the UK and Ireland, I bring a world of experience with me literally.

Born in Australia, David and his wife Jane have lived in Ireland since 2013. Their move to Wicklow was prompted when his wife had a brain haemorrhage and subsequent stroke, the summers down under proved too difficult for her body to handle and so a move to the Emerald Isle followed. While living here, they have not received any funding from the State.

“I grew up being in a family of Conservative voters, as I got older I saw good and bad in both sides of Australian politics, I became less party orientated. My political sense has moved to a more Moderate position, we need strong economic prosperity to be fiscally responsible, that strong economic position needs to be transferred back into social benefit as well”.

One year ago this week, David was interviewed by The Clare Echo on his plans to set up The Moderate Party, a political project he has put to one side for “the foreseeable future”. “I never truly pushed The Moderate Party as much as I could have. I lost a little bit of heart after the local elections because I saw people were still voting Fianna Fail and Fine Gael ahead of decent Independents putting themselves forward, I was thinking the situation in Ireland was dire across so many different facets, it was a bit disillusioning on the historical aspects of party politics”.

Lack of proposed solutions in the health service reignited his political fire. “I feel as an engineer with a background in looking at solutions rather than kicking the can down the road, I felt I could make a difference”.

He is adamant an Independent can make a difference in the Dáil for Co Clare. “Dr Harty tried the gently softly softly approach, we need to go in harder and be a louder voice for Co Clare, similar to the Healy-Raes in Kerry, we need somebody making noise until we are heard that we need our services back particularly in our health service”.

Living in Cooraclare, he is not universally known in parish which Barrett admitted is a small hindrance. “My wife and I are quiet people, we don’t have kids so we don’t go to schools and we’re not church goers so that means we’ve a more limited interaction with people than others do. I’ve only been in Cooraclare for a couple of years, the candidates who have grown up here and have familial relationships, they would have an advantage in spreading out through their parish but I don’t see it as too big an advantage, I feel I’m across all the main issues that are facing Co Clare”.

“It is definitely a personal risk, I felt I had to do it and try my best, if I never tried I’d never know and I’d say maybe I should have tried. I’m glad I have tried because I am getting very good feedback at the doors, people are very disillusioned, some to the extent that they won’t vote, I’d like to think I’ve given them some hope to go through Independents. I am hopeful that it is time for change, I’m feeling optimistic and I’m holding my own on debates, I’m definitely a contender and wouldn’t be writing myself off just yet”.

Páraic McMahon is Head of News & Sport with The Clare Echo. The Newmarket-on-Fergus native also writes for national papers including The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent and The Irish Times along with doing work for RTÉ, Today FM, TheJournal.ie and The42.ie. A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to - paraic@clareecho.ie

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