Deeny stands down

West Tyrone’s independent MLA Kieran Deeny is to stand down at the next Assembly election.

Citing “family reasons” and the demanding time schedule he faced performing the role of a practicing GP and Assembly member Dr Deeny said, “It has become increasingly difficult to work even part-time as a GP and as an MLA and do the jobs properly.”

However in announcing his decision, Dr Deeny fired a parting shot at the four main political parties for not backing the hospital campaign in Omagh. While he enjoyed support from individual MLAs, he claimed there was no desire at a leadership level from either Sinn Féin, the DUP, the SDLP or the UUP to back his Tyrone County Health Coalition:

“I always believed, but it didn’t happen, that as an MLA elected on the issue and a member of the health committee, that I would get the support of at least one, if not two of the parties. That never happened and that’s the sad reality.

“I’m not a mug to think that one MLA out of 108 was going to change decisions that are being taken. But if I had have had the support of one or even two of the parties, then we would be looking at a whole different scenario here.”

Deeny did top the West Tyrone poll in the 2003 Assembly elections with 6,158 first pref votes, but by 2007 he had to rely on transfers to just get in on the seventh count with 3,776 votes. His re-election in 2011 was unlikely but not impossible. However fatigue has set in around the campaign, with frustration at the lack of progress made at Stormont. The GP disclosed:

“It was possibly naivety, but I did believe that our argument was so strong as the largest of the six counties, after losing Dungannon and Mid-Ulster that Omagh would survive.

“I thought with a regional Assembly with local parties and a local health minister, we would get the support of the parties and the health minister would listen. I have to say both of those things didn’t happen and that was the most disappointing thing of all.”

Update: Omagh District Councillor Paddy McGowan confirms he will run for Assembly as an independent. Read my post on Slugger.

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About AldousDuke
Mid Tyrone journalist, not so freelance any more.

One Response to Deeny stands down

  1. Pingback: West Tyrone may keep its’ independents #ae11 « Slugger O'Toole

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