Independent TD Michael Harty has announced that he will not be standing in the forthcoming General Election.
Dr Harty, a GP who was elected for the first time in 2016, has served as chairman of the Oireachtas Health Committee said he is not standing for “personal and professional reasons.”
Dr Harty had supported the Government for up to two years but withdrew his votes amid criticism of the failure of Minister Simon Harris to deliver the Slaintecare reform of the health services.
In a statement, the TD said: “I am announcing today, 13th January 2020, that I am not putting my name forward as a candidate in the upcoming general election for personal and professional reasons.”
He said he had a choice to either seek to keep his promise to his local community in fulfilling his duties as a GP or to continue in politics and ultimately decided to proritise the former.
“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,” he 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."
He said 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.
He said: “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.
"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,” he said.