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'I had to help' - GP Fergus (72) comes out of retirement

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Dr Fergus O'Kelly - a retired GP who is returning to practice to help out in the COVID-19 crises

Dr Fergus O'Kelly - a retired GP who is returning to practice to help out in the COVID-19 crises

Dr Fergus O'Kelly - a retired GP who is returning to practice to help out in the COVID-19 crises

"I couldn't walk away from something like this. I certainly couldn't stand on the sideline and not try to help."

Professor Fergus O'Kelly (72, above) retired two years ago. As a GP, he gave 40 years of service to his patients at Rialto and Dolphin's Barn in Dublin.

He battled for the vulnerable - and he's about to do it again.

He is among 30,000 healthcare workers who have come forward to help the HSE fight the war against coronavirus.

The doctor is in good company - his three children, Mark, Conor and Siobhan, have all followed him into general practice.

They are among an army of medics battling to save lives.

Speaking from his home in Greystones, Dr O'Kelly laughed when asked about his keen sense of duty.

"No, don't make me sound saint-like. I'm no saint," he said.

"I don't want to sound too heavy, but I suppose I can help, so I feel I must.

"This is an unprecedented situation - a global medical pandemic.

"People, if they can help, should. I certainly couldn't stand on the sidelines and not be involved.

Happy

"I have always been involved. Even since retirement I'm still active in the education side of things so I'm very happy to do this.

"I'm only one of 30,000 people who came forward and volunteered."

Dr O'Kelly is in an at-risk group, but he isn't concerned.

"They would see us supporting frontline staff and not being in direct contact with patients.

"I'm widowed, so I've only myself to worry about it."