'Real pity' Dr Tony Holohan's expertise will be lost from the public service and education

The chief medical officer was due to take up the role of Professor of Public Health Strategy and Leadership at the university.
'Real pity' Dr Tony Holohan's expertise will be lost from the public service and education

Vivienne Clarke

It is a real pity that the expertise of the chief medical officer (CMO) Dr Tony Holohan is going to be lost to the public service and education, the Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman has said.

Dr Holohan was due to take up the role of Professor of Public Health Strategy and Leadership at Trinity College, 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”.

“I thought the role was ideal” as a means of sharing his skills and talents in an educational context, the Mr O’Gorman told RTÉ radio’s News at One.

When asked if he had confidence in the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly’s handling of the issue, Mr O’Gorman said that it was his understanding that staffing issues were not dealt with by the Mr Donnelly but by the Department of Health's secretary general.

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

There needed to be a process that would allow expertise such as that of Dr Holohan to be shared in another context, Mr O'Gorman said.

“This process should have been dealt with in a different way.”

Mr O’Gorman said he agreed with the Taoiseach’s assertion that important lessons had to be learned from this situation.

The report, to be compiled by the secretary general and presented to the Minister for Health, is to give clarity on what steps can be taken to ensure there is no repeat of what had happened here, he said.

Dr Holohan has said that he will retire from the post of CMO in July.

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