Dr Jerry Cowley has become the latest person to throw his hat in the ring for the upcoming General Election. The Mulranny based GP was an independent TD from 2002 to 2007 before he lost his seat in the 2007 general election. Dr Cowley contested the 2001 general election for the Labour Party but he failed to regain the seat he lost four years earlier, polling 3,644 first preference votes, putting him in seventh place in the popular poll and was eliminated on the eighth count.
Cowley will run as part of the 'No Doctor No Village' campaign and he will officially announce his candidature at a public meeting in Mulranny Amenity Centre on Tuesday evening. When he was elected to Dáil in 2002, Dr Cowley got 8,709 first preferences. However, in the 2007 general election that dropped to 3,407 first preference votes.
The 'No Doctor No Village' campaign is trying to raise debate about the current crisis facing rural GP practices and to outline the measures needed to ensure their sustainability. Speaking about the campaign Dr Cowley said: "General practice is the universal front-line service nationwide. Every day our highly qualified GPs provide high-quality, comprehensive, continuous care across the country - now Ireland is losing these doctors to emigration and retirement. There have been successive cuts to primary care which have set community services back decades. On a daily basis, we see everything from a finger sprain to depression. We recognise knowing the person who has the disease is as important as knowing the disease that has the person.
"Many rural GP clinics are no longer viable and therefore on the brink of closing down for ever. Newly qualified GP just don’t want to take on these struggling practices. Unless changes to resourcing are urgently implemented, this will mean the end of the rural GP, who communities have cherished and relied on for decades.”