Northern Ireland

Retired Derry GP contacted by regulator over her opposition to masks

Dr Anne McCloskey is also a member of the pro-life political party, Aontú. Picture by Mark Marlow.
Dr Anne McCloskey is also a member of the pro-life political party, Aontú. Picture by Mark Marlow.

A RETIRED GP who is a member of pro-life political party Aontú has been contacted by the body which regulates doctors over her opposition to face masks.

Dr Anne McCloskey told a gathering in Derry earlier this month that she "received an email" from the General Medical Council (GMC) after she compared wearing face coverings to prevent the spread of coronavirus to "using a sheep fence to keep out mosquitos".

Addressing supporters in the city's Guildhall Square, the medic said she worked for 35 years in the Shantallow area and that she had thought "long and hard" about her decision to speak out against Stormont's handling of the pandemic.

She also attacked the media claiming they offered "no analysis or context" in reporting the crisis.

And she hit out at health authorities over the recording of deaths.

"I became very concerned as a medical practioneer when I heard for the first time in my professional career that they had changed the rules on death certification," Dr McCloskey said.

"The rules were that anyone who had a temperature or a cough prior to their death, no matter what else was wrong with them, was to be counted as a Covid death. To me that was fundamentally dishonest. I am strangely confused that my profession, by and large, went along with that."

To cheers of applause, Dr McCloskey expressed her support for the Dublin medic Dr Marcus de Brun.

Dr de Brun resigned from the Irish Medical Council in protest at the Republic's management of Covid-19 in care homes. He has also been vocal in his criticism of "healthy young people" wearing masks.

Dr McCloskey's comments have been shared widely on social media and come as health minister Robin Swann last night castigated "conspiracy theorists" who promote " agendas against vaccines and masks".

Mr Swann issued a statement in relation to the distribution of leaflets which made claims about Covid being put on death certificates "fraudulently".

He warned the public not to be distracted by "noise" on "social media or elsewhere".

"Keyboard warriors can sit safely at home and promote distorted agendas against vaccines and masks. I would ask to them to put their tin foil hats back in the drawer but I doubt they would listen," he said.

"I am confident the people of Northern Ireland will not fall for their attempts to create confusion and hysteria.

"The facts are clear. Covid-19 has claimed many lives and continues to do so. The Executive’s response continues to be guided by expert medical and scientific advice. Governments in many other jurisdictions are following similar paths."

Concerns about the "mixed messaging" by Stormont over new restrictions were also addressed.

"The localised restrictions ministers announced last week have been accused of being both anti-business and pro-business. They have been depicted as being both too lax and too strict," Mr Swann added.

"My job is to do what’s best for the people of Northern Ireland. My message to the public remains the same - keep following public health advice to keep yourself and others safe."

A spokesman for the GMC said they were "unable to comment on individual allegations". He added that Dr McCloskey is "currently registered with a licence to practice".