IN FULL: Outspoken anti-lockdown doctor on why she’s quitting council seat

A qualified doctor whose outspoken criticism of lockdown has led to a rift with her party has issued a statement of resignation.

Monday, 19th October 2020, 12:44 pm
Updated Monday, 19th October 2020, 3:55 pm

Dr Anne McCloskey, a high-profile GP in Londonderry who since 2019 has held a seat on Derry City and Strabane District Council, has said that “the cure is much worse than the disease” when ot comes to the damage being done by the anti-virus clampdown.

Her split from Aontu, the pro-life republican party she helped to found last year, is a major blow to its leader Peadar Toibin (an ex-Sinn Fein TD) because Dr McCloskey had been his deputy leader.

Mr Toibin had announced Dr McCloskey’s intention to stand down on Friday night.

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Dr McCloskey in 2008

And today the doctor has issued a detailed statement on her departure from the council.


I have, in consultation with the leader of Aontú, Peadar Tobín reluctantly decided to resign my seat on Derry and Strabane District Council.

I have regretfully decided that I can no longer participate in any aspect of an administration which does not act in what I consider to be the best interests of the people.

That Derry is locked up, and her citizens forbidden to carry out their normal social, economic, educational and family activities is in my opinion a flawed policy, and a grave injustice, and likely to have a much greater adverse impact on their lives than any harm caused by a virus.

Council are of course required to implement policies decreed by Stormont and the UK parliament, but I cannot in conscience cooperate in implementing the denial of human rights and autonomy to the people I represent.

International scientific opinion now indicates clearly that lockups are not an effective method of preventing the spread of this illness, and their collateral damage in terms of health and economic outcomes will outweigh any benefit.

Furthermore, the use of RT-PCR testing which is neither diagnostic, nor a measure of ability to infect others to drive public policy is in my view flawed, and indeed immoral.

Every death with Sars Cov 2 is a sad loss to families and communities, but the greater loss of life due to the curtailment of normal medical and preventative healthcare seems not to have been fully considered in decision making by government or the medical advisory and administrative bodies at this time.

I have signed the Great Barrington Declaration, and am involved in a community of medical doctors and scientists in Ireland who similarly advocate for a more focused approach to policy, in shielding the vulnerable, while allowing society and the economy to function.

My deeply held conviction that the current policies of government are not compatible with the data now available, and that the cure is much worse than the disease is not entirely congruent with Aontú policy across the island.

My outspoken advocacy in this regard poses a challenge to cohesion within our fledgling political movement, and as such, while remaining a member and continuing to work for our core values of Life, Unity and Economic Justice, I have reluctantly decided to step aside from my public duties at this time.

To represent the electorate of the Ballyarnett district, and the wider council area has been a challenging new role after a lifetime in medicine, but a very exciting and rewarding one.

I wish to record my appreciation and sincere thanks for the work of last year’s Mayor Michaela Boyle, current Mayor Brian Tierney, the Chief Executive John Kelpie and all of the members, officers and staff of Council in this most challenging of times.

Their support in my role, and tolerance of my inexperience and mistakes is much appreciated. Our City and District is in very capable hands.

I will continue in my current role for the next few weeks, until a selection convention can be convened to appoint another Aontú member to be co-opted in my place.

Yours Faithfully, Anne Mc Closkey. MB


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