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20.19 13 Jan 2020


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Independent TD for Clare Dr Michael Harty has confirmed that he will not be contesting the upcoming General Election.

Deputy Harty said he would not be standing as a candidate for "personal and professional reasons".

Earlier today during a visit to Belfast, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar gave no further indication to the waiting media of the likely date for the poll.

However, it is widely expected to take place on February 7th or 14th.

Speaking to Ivan Yates on The Hard Shoulder today, Deputy Harty said he wants to honour a commitment he gave on his election as a TD four years ago.

He said: "I had committed to the people of Clare and to my own parish that should I be elected to the Dáil, that my practice would continue to function by means placing a locum in the practice.

"That worked for the first two years or so but it has been increasingly difficult for me to find a full-time locum to work in this practice and I've had to fill the gaps in the past number of months."

Deputy Harty said that if he was re-elected, he would have to resign his list in his practice in west Clare as he believes that a GP would not be found to replace him.

He said it "wouldn't have been a problem" if he was not re-elected as never sought "to carve out a political career" for himself.

Deputy Harty said: "I'm in my late 60s and I have no political ambition whatsoever, that's why I stood as an independent and that's why I was elected as an independent.

"I have been approached by all the major parties asking that I would stand for them in the next election and I wouldn't do so because I was elected as an independent candidate.

"I have no ambition of building a political dynasty or a political career.

When asked whether he felt his point of view was listened to by the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Health Minister Simon Harris he said "not particularly".

He said: "Frustration would be the term I would use for my time there.

"I found it very frustrating that even putting a reasonable point across or attempting to get a meeting [was] met with resistance."

He said he also found it "difficult" to communicate with the Minister for Health.

Deputy Harty said: "I don't think he really understood how the health service functioned and I think he should have engaged more with frontline staff.

"It's one thing to go and say 'I've visited every hospital in the country', but they're managed visits, you need to go into the hospitals and speak to the people who are delivering the service.

He said it was a "failing" of Simon Harris that he did not carry out such engagement with staff.

Looking towards the election, the TD said he has "absolutely no idea" who he will vote for in Clare.

Main image: File photo of  Dr Michael Harty TD speaking to the media outside Leinster House. Credit: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews.ie

You can listen to the full interview here:

Clare TD Dr Michael Harty not seeking re-election for 'personal and professional reasons'

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

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Clare General Election Leo Varadkar Michael Harty Simon Harris

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