An outside expert will be appointed by Health Secretary Stephen Donnelly to guide the process surrounding Dr. Review Tony Holohan as a professor at Trinity College.
It comes after the minister received and considered a report on the matter from his department’s general secretary, Robert Watt.
In a statement tonight, the Minister said: “On Monday I received an information note regarding the previously proposed secondment of the Chief Medical Officer to Trinity College Dublin as Professor of Public Health Strategy and Leadership.
“There has been criticism that the department did not set out full details of the proposal when making the announcement. The department has accepted that the proposed regulations should have been communicated earlier.”
The minister said the department recognizes there are lessons to be learned.
“Considering the process of the proposed secondment of the Chief Medical Officer and the research proposal, I am initiating a review to consider findings and recommendations that could inform future such initiatives. I appoint an external expert to conduct this review.
“It is entirely appropriate that important appointments and announcements come under scrutiny.
“Such a review should be free of personalized comments addressed to officials working in good faith and with good intentions. We have a strong civil service in Ireland, as has been shown during the pandemic, and we shouldn’t lose sight of that.”
The information note from the Secretary-General of the Department of Health, Robert Watt, to Mr Donnelly stated that Dr. Holohan has entered into detailed discussions with third tier institutions on how to advance the future agenda around Ireland’s response to the pandemic.
This was followed in August by discussions with Dr. Holohan on his future plans.
dr Holohan indicated that he would consider potential academic and international positions.
He said he wants to stay in the public service and lead inter-agency collaboration between universities and the health sector and build stronger links with WHO and the EU.
He asked for a secondment on February 25 and informed Minister of Government Martin Fraser.
The salary of Dr. Holohan would be paid as part of a larger fund managed by the Health Research Board.
It was never intended to be paid directly by the department.
However, the Health Research Board said this week that no approach has been taken.
The information note states that the minister has been informed of the plan that Dr. Holohan is set to take on a role as Professor of Public Health Strategy and Leadership at Trinity College.
He was not specifically involved in agreements.
Mr Watt’s note insists that no effort has been made to accommodate the proposed secondment of Dr. to hide the holohan.
He said he believed the policy approach was appropriate given the circumstances.
Meanwhile, Mr. Watt tried to pin the blame for the botched appointment on the Taoiseach’s department.
In his 12-page report on the debacle, the health ministry secretary-general criticized suggestions that the Taoiseach and other ministers would be “kept in the dark” about the appointment.
Mr Watt said former Secretary-General of the Department of the Taoiseach, Martin Fraser, was aware of Dr. Holohan aware of accepting a delegation from the Department of Health to take over the Trinity research role.
“Indeed, the government minister received confirmation from the CMO at the end of February that a secondment was sought,” he said.
“In early March, the Secretary of Government approached me and asked me to confirm that I was working on the details. I have confirmed. I concluded that this had political support in government buildings,” he added.
https://www.independent.ie/news/external-expert-to-carry-out-review-of-process-around-dr-tony-holohans-now-abandoned-trinity-college-secondment-41551801.html External expert to review the process around Dr. Tony Holohan’s now-defunct secondment to Trinity College