Varadkar pays tribute to Dr Tony Holohan as he steps down as chief medical officer

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has paid tribute to departing chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan
Varadkar pays tribute to Dr Tony Holohan as he steps down as chief medical officer

James Cox

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has paid tribute to departing chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan, who he said played a big role in saving "hundreds if not thousands" of lives during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dr Holohan will take up a new role at Trinity College, the Department of Health has confirmed.

Dr Holohan was appointed deputy CMO in 2001 and later became CMO, a position he held for 14 years.

He will remain chief medical officer until July.

While there were rumours of tension between the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) and Government over the handling of the pandemic, Mr Varadkar is the latest Government minister to pay a glowing tribute to Dr Holohan.

He said: "My sincere congratulations to Dr Tony Holohan on his appointment as a Professor in Trinity College. He is leaving the public service, but it’s reassuring that he and his experience and knowledge will only be down the road.

"I had the privilege of working alongside Tony as Minister for Health, Taoiseach and Tánaiste dealing with some of the most sensitive issues including Cervical check, drugs and alcohol policy, failings in Portlaoise and other maternity services and Covid. He was always committed, available and clear and robust in his thinking and advice.

"Ireland has suffered terribly as a consequence of Covid but the fact that we have one of the lowest excess mortality rates in Europe is not a small thing, and it must be the case that hundreds if not thousands of lives were saved at least in part due to Dr Holohan’s advice to Government.

Leadership role

"I’d also like to recall the leadership role he played in making sure that Ireland was in the vanguard of countries on public health legislation designed to reduce cancer including tobacco, alcohol and sunbed exposure. This action will save lives and improve health for decades to come."

Taoiseach Micheál Martin thanked Dr Holohan for two decades of "outstanding and dedicated service" to the people of Ireland.

"His steadfast assured advice, and willingness to communicate over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic undoubtedly helped saved lives, and kept Ireland safe during an exceptionally challenging two years," Mr Martin said.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said: “Throughout the pandemic his invaluable advice to me, and to the Government has shaped our response to Covid-19, and I witnessed first-hand his unwavering dedication to protecting the health of the people of Ireland.

“He will play a critical role in applying his knowledge and skills to the development of the next generation of thinking and practice in public health, and I wish Tony all the best in this new and exciting chapter in his career.”

More in this section

Sponsored Content

Add Echolive.ie to your home screen - easy access to Cork news, views, sport and more