Dr Fatima Hamroush, Libya's new Health Minister at home in Ireland
The person named on Tuesday by prime minister Abdurrahim el-Keeb as Health Minister in the transitional Cabinet of Libya, the executive branch of the government, Dr Fatima Hamroush, is a 53-year-old Libyan doctor with Irish nationality who has been living in Ireland for 15 years, The Irish Independent reports
Speaking to the newspaper from her "second home" in Julianstown, Co Meath, near Drogheda in Ireland, Benghazi-born Dr Hamroush is reported to have said that she was under no illusions about the challenges that lay ahead of her - the main one being corruption, which is rampant. As a result there is also personal risk after she takes an oath of office on Monday.
"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," she said.
Dr Hamroush, who has been a consultant ophthalmologist in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda since 2000, will leave Ireland for Libya this Sunday.
She was born in Benghazi and her father was jailed for three years by the former Libyan dictator Muammar Al Qathafi's forces in 1969.
The medic, a mother of four children - Abdulah (25), Fouz (24), Omar (22) and Farah (17) – went to live in with her children - because of worsening human rights abuses in the Libya under the previous regime.
"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 the I would know if the country (Libya) would be better or worse," she told the newspaper.
She went on to say that things in Libya did not improve and she remained in Ireland and secured a permanent position there; she has worked as a medical ophthalmologist in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital and also works at the Mater Hospital and the Beaumont Hospital
She has visited Libya on a number of occasions but stopped coming back to her homeland in 2006 when her identity became known to Al Qathafi's forces.
Speaking about her new role, Dr Hamroush 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."
Dr Hamroush is also director of Irish Libyan Emergency Aid. She has been active as a letter-writer, highlighting the human rights abuses and a vocal supporter of "non-violent opposition".
She said she felt she could not turn down the opportunity to be part of the transitional government.
"I couldn't refuse it, it would be like a soldier refusing to go to the battlefield," she added.
Fathi Akkari, a lecturer in Tallaght IT, is also to be offered a post in Libya's education ministry, The Independent has reported.
||Date: 28/11/2011 14:19:42
Dr Fatima Hamroush having been out of Libya and living in Ireland for so long, will bring a fresh perspective based upon her experience of western democracy, allied to her intimate knowledge of her homeland. In doing so she is "stepping up to the plate" and will champion the highest standards in Public Office allied to advancing opportunity, equality, justice, and parity of esteem for all of Libyas citizens. She is to be much admired and lauded for taking herself from her own comfort zone in Ireland to a difficult and dangerous frontline in order that her homeland might take its rightful place on the Global platform of free and democratic nations. Go n'deirigh on bothar leat a Dhuine Uasal