*Dr Michael Harty. Photograph: Joe Buckley
Clare’s Dáil Éireann constituency has been blown wide open with sitting TD, Dr Michael Harty (IND) announcing he will not be seeking re-election.
Elected in his first entry into politics in 2016, Harty polled 8,629 first preference votes and was the second Clare TD elected. He campaign under the ‘No Doctor No Village’ platform. Within two months of taking his seat in Leinster House, Michael was appointed Chair of the Oireachtas Health committee.
On Monday afternoon in a statement to The Clare Echo, he confirmed his name would not be appearing on the ballot paper for the 2020 General Election. “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. 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”.
“It has been an honour and privilege to represent the people of Clare in 32nd Dáil while proposing alternative ideas on how to deliver balanced regional development for Clare, support rural sustainability and reform the structure our health services especially within the Mid-West region. I would like to thank all those who have supported me during the election campaign of 2016 and over the past 4 years in Dáil Éireann, especially my family, political support staff both in Clare and in Dublin as I advocated for my constituents to the best of my ability”.
Harty concluded, “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”.