Taoiseach Micheál Martin said that Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tony Holohan in the amount of 187,000 euros to Trinity College Dublin should be funded by the taxpayer.
It follows reports that the salary should be funded not only by the Department of Health but also by other bodies such as the Science Foundation Ireland.
“From what I know now, I realize that this should be funded by the Treasury,” he said.
“It is very clear that multi-year funding was planned by the Department of Health to be managed by the Health Research Board.”
He said he met Health Secretary Stephen Donnelly last Thursday, where he was given “details” that suggested the position would be taxpayer-funded.
The Taoiseach said he decided to adjourn Friday’s delegation after that meeting and defended his own handling of the controversy while implying that Dr. Holohan owe no apologies.
“I don’t think anyone can argue fundamental principles about the transparency of a process,” the Taoiseach said.
“I am very clear, from my own perspective, on the actions I have taken in response to what I have learned through the media regarding the posting.”
Mr Martin said he was “stunned” by a report in a Sunday newspaper that Dr. Instead, Holohan is paid for through a combination of funds from Science Foundation Ireland, the Department for Further Education and Higher Education and the Department of Health.
“All are funded by the treasury,” said the Taoiseach.
A report on the controversy is due to be delivered tomorrow by Department of Health Secretary-General Robert Watt to Health Secretary Stephen Donnelly.
Mr Martin said it was “very regrettable” that Dr. Holohan decided to step down from TCD.
“I think there are fundamental lessons to be learned here. Transparency from the start would have been appropriate,” he said.
“I find it very unfortunate.”
Responding to Fianna Fáil’s Minister of State, Niall Collins, who said in a report in the Irish Mail on Sunday that Mr Watt had “displayed a breathtaking arrogance and contempt”, Mr Martin said he believed the conversation was “free of personal attacks on anyone should be and especially for civil servants”.
He said he had no relationship with either Mr Watt or Dr. Holohan and that he has confidence in Mr Watt.
On Saturday said Dr. Holohan, he will not take up the newly created professorship and will leave public service.
The announcement came after days of controversy after it emerged that Dr. Holohan would assume the new role of permanent secondment, with the Ministry of Health continuing to pay his annual salary of €187,000 from July 1.
As a result, it turned out that Dr. Holohan would not step down as chief medical officer, but would join Trinity on secondment while maintaining the same civil service salaries and conditions.
In a statement from the Health Ministry, Dr. Holohan: “I have decided not to continue my secondment as Professor of Public Health Leadership and Strategy at Trinity College Dublin.
“I intend to retire as CMO effective July 1 to give the Department of Health sufficient time to move forward with the process of appointing my successor.
“I don’t want the controversy of the last few days to continue. In particular, I would like to avoid our high-ranking politicians and officials being unnecessarily further distracted by this.
“I truly believe this was a significant opportunity to work with the university sector to develop much-needed public health capacity and leadership for the future. In this regard, I would like to thank Trinity College and the Provost for their foresight and support in establishing this role.
“After my departure, I look forward to passing on my knowledge and expertise outside of the public service.”
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/taoiseach-says-tony-holohans-187000-tcd-salary-was-to-be-funded-from-public-purse-as-report-on-row-due-monday-41539341.html Taoiseach says Tony Holohan’s €187,000 TCD salary should be funded from public funds as the series’ report is due Monday