Report due into controversy surrounding Tony Holohan TCD appointment

The chief medical officer was due to take up the role of Professor of Public Health Strategy and Leadership at the university
Report due into controversy surrounding Tony Holohan TCD appointment

The Minister for Health will be presented with a report today into the controversy surrounding the appointment of chief medical officer Tony Holohan to a senior role at Trinity College Dublin.

Dr Holohan was due to take up the role of Professor of Public Health Strategy and Leadership, however, he announced his withdrawal from the plans on Saturday, saying that he did not wish “to see the controversy of the last few days continuing”.

His appointment to the role sparked controversy when it emerged that it was intended that Dr Holohan would leave on an open-ended secondment and that the role would be funded by the Department of Health.

The report on the appointment process, penned by secretary general of the Department of Health Robert Watt, is expected to say that Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly was aware of the proposed secondment of Dr Holohan - although the Minister said last week he was not aware of the details.

Mr Watt is expected to strongly defend his role in the now-abandoned appointment of Dr Holohan to the post at TCD, according to a report in The Irish Times.

Lessons

It comes amid renewed criticism over the weekend from Taoiseach Micheál Martin, who said that “lessons have to be learned” from the controversy.

On Friday, Mr Martin said the appointment should be paused pending the completion of the report by the Department of Health.

Mr Martin expressed confidence in Mr Watt on Sunday, describing him as a “capable public servant”.

He said it is "regrettable" that Dr Holohan will not be taking up the role with TCD, but said there should have been transparency on the details from the outset.

“There will be a comprehensive summary and report tomorrow from the secretary general in Health to the Minister for Health but I think certainly lessons have to be learned.

“Anything that involves the spending of public money or any substantive multi-annual programme of research is a policy issue that does require approval by Government.”

Dr Holohan has said that he will retire from the post of chief medical officer in the summer.

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