TO chants of Óle, Óle, Dr Michael Harty was returned to Dáil Éireann after an election campaign that he described to The Clare People as going from ‘zero to a seat in five weeks’.
The Kilmihil-based GP, who campaign on a ‘Rural Revolution’ platform was elected after the ninth count — the second candidate past the post in a marathon election campaign that’s going on into the early hours.
The crowning glory of his election came at 1am when Dr Harty received 1,119 votes from the distribution of Anne Norton’s vote after she was eliminated — that carried his vote to 11,962 to give him a surplus of 561 votes.
“I am delighted and I am surprised I am not crying,” he revealed. “It is beyond our wildest dreams. We thought maybe we would be in the running for a fourth seat and we’ve taken the second seat and are absolutely ecstatic,” he added.
On being addressed as Deputy Michael Harty for the first time he moved quickly to say that “it’s Dr Michael Harty GP TD, never forget your roots”.
Continuing, Deputy Harty outlined the ‘zero to hero’ campaign that saw him become the fourth doctor to be elected for the Clare constituency — joining some famous company such as Dr Paddy Hillery, Dr Bill Loughnane and Dr Moosajée Bhamjée.
“We moved beyond the ‘no doctor, no village’ campaign at the second public meeting in Corofin,” he revealed. “We realised it was an anger and frustration in the community. There were so many services being stripped away from rural towns and rural villages in Clare and in other counties, up and down the west coast.
“The farmers, the teachers, the post offices, sports people, people from the arts — they all came together and expressed their views that they were shouting stop and did not want to see services being stripped away.”
On his rural revolution slogan, Deputy Harty said “we have to talk about it, we have to highlight the issues, we have to see what the solutions are. But nobody was speaking about it, it was happening silently, so we’re going to speak about it and we will find solutions.
“We went from zero to a seat in five weeks. People will be asking we did it. The second meeting in Corofin was the catalyst. We could go no where after that but challenge at the ballot. We did that and we won. We were told we would get no support and we proved them wrong.
“This is a special day and an emotional day,” he added.

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