An Irish doctor is Libya’s new Minister for Health – after sending her CV to the country’s authorities in the wake of liberation.
Meath based Dr Fatima Hamroush will return to her homeland on Sunday after 15 years in exile to take up the post in the first Libyan government since dictator Colonel Gadaffi was overthrown.
She will be joined in the new parliament by another Irish citizen after Fathi al-Akkari was appointed deputy minister for higher education.
Dr Hamroush, who has lived in Julianstown and worked in Drogheda, will take her oath of office on Monday and is under no illusions about the task ahead.
“I know I am taking a risk, we all are. But I know there are some who would like to see me there; I am known for being completely against corruption, I can’t tolerate corruption,” the 53-year-old told the Irish Independent.
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A consultant ophthalmologist in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda since 2000, Dr Hamroush fled to Ireland with her four children due to worsening human rights abuses in her homeland.
“I didn’t want to leave the country but wanted to take a break from that. I knew my post-grad would take about four years and by them I would know if the country would be better or worse,” she added.
Dr Hamroush, whose father was interned for three years by Gadaffi’s forces, hasn’t been home since 2006 but will fly back to Tripoli on Sunday and take up her new role 24 hours later.
She said: “No one going there will be feeling confident that (they) will be safe. We are building something new from everything around us that is a big mess.
“But I couldn’t refuse this challenge, it would be like a soldier refusing to go to the battlefield.” she added.
Fellow Irish citizen Fathi al-Akkari, a lecturer in electronic engineering at Tallaght Institute of Technology in Dublin, has been appointed deputy minister for higher education by the new Libyan regime.
Al-Akkari said: “For 42 years all aspects of the Libyan educational system were dictated by Gadaffi. We have a lot of work to do to overcome the damage he caused.”a