Monday 26 August 2019

Clare: 'I look forward to the day you lose your seat' - Labour TD Michael McNamara raises doubts about running again

Clare TD Michael McNamara. Photo: Tom Burke
Clare TD Michael McNamara. Photo: Tom Burke
Fianna Fáil’s efforts to win back a second seat depend on Deputy Timmy Dooley’s as-yet-unproven ability to ‘vote-share’.
Fianna Fail's Timmy Dooley

Gordon Deegan

‘No Doctor No Village’ candidate , Dr Michael Harty TD (Ind) will be brought back down to earth this morning (Monday) from the weekend delirium that marked his election as a TD in Clare.

Dr Harty  will be treating the aches and ailments of his patients at his Kilmihil surgery that will give him little time to reflect on his stellar performance that saw his grab the second seat in Clare.

Working as a GP in west Clare for the past 32 years and aged 63, Dr Harty in the early hours of Sunday morning was contemplating his radical career departure.

He said that “my one regret” in securing a seat “will be no longer be treating my patients and I think the feeling is mutual”.

He said: “I have mostly an elderly population - people with complex illnesses with complex diseases - that is what I specialise in. To move into an area looking after people in a different way will be strange for me, but I feel I can do it and I feel that we have a message that is worth fighting for.

Dr Harty said that he will get a locum to operate the practice and he will retain a supervisory role. He stressed: “My income from the practice will be zero.”

A political novice, Dr Harty said that he had never been to an election count before after receiving a rapturous welcome on Saturday night.

An emotional Joe Carey TD (FG) spoke of going to his mother’s grave on Saturday “to have a word with her” and travelling out to Cree in west Clare for a month’s mind for a deceased party colleague before finally arriving into the count through a side door just before 2am on Sunday morning.

Deputy Carey said that it was “a serious achievement”  for Fine Gael to retain two seats with only 26% of the vote. He said that a local poll one week before the election that wrote off his chances ‘galvanised my campaign”.

A despondent Michael McNamara said at the count yesterday that he doesn’t know if he will remain in politics.

The Labour TD was eliminated after the 11th count and the lawyer said: “It was an incredibly tough campaign for a variety of reasons including the fact that both of my parents are hospitalised and are in hospitals as we speak and I want to thank hospital staff in both St Joseph’s and the County Hospital in Ennis for the care they are giving to them.”

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