Health Minister receives report on Tony Holohan controversy

Dr Tony Holohan said on Saturday he would not go ahead with the secondment to the Trinity College Dublin role.
Health Minister receives report on Tony Holohan controversy

By Dominic McGrath, PA

The Health Minister has received a report into the botched appointment of the chief medical officer to a professor role at Trinity College Dublin.

Dr Tony Holohan said on Saturday he would not go ahead with the secondment after the Government was dogged by questions over the move, including why his salary was to be funded by the Department of Health.

Leading politicians, including the Taoiseach Micheál Martin, had acknowledged concerns over the lack of transparency in the planned appointment to the position of professor of public health strategy and leadership at Trinity on a salary of €187,000.

A spokesperson for Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said: “Minister Donnelly has this evening received a detailed briefing document from his secretary general and is currently reviewing it.”

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly (Brian Lawless/PA)

The document was compiled by secretary general in the Department of Health, Robert Watt.

It is not clear when the document will be made public.

The controversy has prompted criticism of Mr Donnelly by opposition politicians, who have said that the controversy raises questions about his oversight of the department.

Lessons need to be learnt after the controversy, Mr Martin said on Sunday.

Speaking to the media at the Fianna Fáil Easter Rising commemoration in Arbour Hill in Dublin, the Taoiseach said there should have been transparency over the matter from the outset.

He said: “I think fundamentally lessons have to be learnt here, but I think transparency from the outset would have been appropriate, particularly in relation to all of the aspects of this.

“I think it is regrettable given the fact that Tony has filled a very strong role in terms of bringing us through the pandemic.

“But there has to be processes too, and I think there has to be full transparency in relation to all of these issues.”

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