FF TD intends to stay in Dáil despite motor neurone diagnosis


FIANNA FÁIL TD Michael Fitzpatrick says he intends to continue his work as a Dáil deputy notwithstanding his recent diagnosis with a serious medical condition.

The TD for Kildare North discovered three weeks ago that he is suffering from motor neurone disease, a degenerative disorder that affects motor neurones, the cells that control voluntary muscle activity in the body.

Mr Fitzpatrick (67) told The Irish Timesyesterday that he noticed he was beginning to lose power in his right arm over the Christmas period and that he immediately contacted his doctor.

He said that following tests in January, it was finally confirmed three weeks ago that he had motor neuron disease. There had been no deterioration in his condition since Christmas and the loss of power in his right arm remained the only symptom.

He said he was lucky in that he had sought medical attention immediately upon discovering the symptoms and had received an early diagnosis. He was also heartened that the effects of the condition varied.

Shortly after his diagnosis, Mr Fitzpatrick spoke to Government Chief Whip Pat Carey. “I do intend to talk to the Taoiseach Brian Cowen at some stage about it. He has wished me well.” He had a positive outlook and would continue his duties as normal.

“It took me a long time to get here [the Dáil] and I am not leaving for a while yet. I expect to be here for some considerable time.”

A former garda and auctioneer, Mr Fitzpatrick was for many years the constituency manager in Kildare for former minister for finance and EU commissioner Charlie McCreevy. He was first elected as a councillor in 1999 and made the breakthrough to the Dáil only three years ago, when he was elected on the fifth count.