So who is responsible for our healthcare system? Is it Minister of Health Stephen Donnelly or is it the Secretary General of the Ministry of Health? Robert Watts? Maybe it’s HSE chief Paul Reid. Who knows?
The controversy surrounding the botched plan, Chief Physician Dr Tony Holohan to Trinity College to do pandemic research has certainly raised questions about who exactly is running the show.
Donnelly was sent into the airwaves last week to defend Holohan’s now-defunct deputation with his full salary, and didn’t have nearly all the facts available as he attempted to support a decision he had little to nothing to do with With.
Watt, a prominent official, suggested in his account of the controversy that the appointment was none of Donnelly’s business.
Therefore, according to the Watts report, the health secretary should not have any say in decision-making around the country’s GMO, which is ongoing while we still struggle to get out of the pandemic. That is the narrative that is being carried out to the public. The senior officials in the Ministry of Health make the decisions and the elected politicians are only there to make the announcements.
There is no denying the power of Holohan to guide our society over the past two years. The obedient politicians willingly bowed to his judgment on all Covid matters.
Given the impact he’s had on their response to the pandemic, it’s not unfair to think politicians would be kept informed of his departure. Watt appears to have politely called Donnelly to let him know that Holohan would be breaking up in hindsight, but he certainly didn’t give him the full facts.
Watt doesn’t just go into controversy, he gets on one knee, proposes to him, and marries him. That’s unusual for a civil servant, to say the least. But the whole debacle leaves the impression that the popularly elected minister is not really involved in the day-to-day running of his own department.
Donnelly’s appointment to Cabinet was always controversial within Fianna Fáil as he was a party blow-in. However, Taoiseach Micheál Martin was clearly in love with the former McKinsey consultant’s “blue sky thinking”.
The Holohan fiasco begs the question of whether Donnelly has his department covered and if you’ll excuse the company babble, whether he should be focusing more on the micro than the macro.
With a cabinet reshuffle just months away, could Donnelly be the victim of a more politically savvy party insider?
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/fiasco-surrounding-tony-holohans-stalled-move-to-trinity-raises-questions-over-accountability-for-our-health-service-and-the-future-of-minister-stephen-donnelly-41548430.html The fiasco surrounding Tony Holohan’s stalled move to Trinity raises questions about accountability for our health service – and the future of Minister Stephen Donnelly