Clare’s newest political sensation Dr Michael Harty has hailed the ‘Rural Revolution’ movement and what he called “the lateral thinkers” of the electorate in every part of county Clare that has him on firmly on course to win a seat in the 32nd Dáil.
The Kilmihil-based GP spoke to The Clare People after arriving in the Falls Hotel count centre in Ennistymon and paid tribute to the people behind his campaign — in his home village, but also throughout the county in what was a remarkable success story that echoed back to some famous other elections thrown up by the Banner County.
“It’s overwhelming,” he said. “I didn’t know what to expect. I would never have seen myself as a political sensation. I know that Clare has been quite a county for throwing up unusual successful candidates over the years — Paddy Hillery, Moosa Bhamjéé, Bill Loughnane, you could go back to Daniel O’Connell if you really wanted to get excited. De Valera,” he added.
Dr Harty, entered the count centre to thunderous applause with former TD and current Mayor of Clare, James Breen, who was the last independent elected to Dáil Éireann from Clare in 2002, roaring “We’re Back, We’re Back”.
“I have never been to a count before so I have never walked in in the manner in which I did this evening,” reflected Dr Harty. “It’s really exciting. I have been trying to keep calm all day and last night we went to the Loves of Cass Maguire [a Brian Friel play] to stay out of the public eye, but we didn’t because we met so many people there.
“I would like to commend the people of Clare — they are lateral thinkers and quite willing to take a chance and I hope that I can fulfil their belief in me. We covered every inch of the county in as much as we could. We had a huge amount of canvassers who saw our message and got what we were about. We were hosted every where we went we had canvassers on the ground introducing us which made our job much easier.
“When you have somebody knocking on the door who is familiar to the householder it makes a big difference. I would like to thank the canvassers all over the county — particularly in my home place of Kilmihil but also in Corofin where the whole movement began. We had tremendous support in Corofin and Ballyvaughan. I would like to thank the voters who showed me such support and respect,” he added.
After the third count Dr Harty had amassed 8,978 votes. The quota for the Clare constituency is 11,401.