The public must be able to trust the state’s selection process


As Chief Medical Officer (CMO) during the pandemic, Dr Tony Holohan occupied the hottest place in high office. The botched handling of his deputation to the tranquility of Trinity College must now feel like a transition from frying pan to fire.

r Holohan deserves better. His advice was invaluable during some of the darkest days this state has ever known.

Finding himself in a blast furnace of unwanted publicity surrounding pay must make him feel taken advantage of. Far from settling into the new job, his first task had to be defending his right to it.

The abuse from start to finish, not by Dr. Holohan, but from those responsible for its transition, requires a clear explanation. The unwillingness of anyone to take responsibility for the messy spectacle that the entire issue is now presenting reflects badly on everyone.

Transparency, trust and belief in the process must be fundamental to all top appointments. When it comes to taxpayers’ money, anything else is absolutely unacceptable.

It must be ensured with the utmost care and consideration that there is no entitlement to access through the back door. However, since neither the health secretary nor any of the top officials would answer questions about who signed this appointment, doubts have arisen that have damaged confidence in the whole process.

Integrity in the selection of publicly funded key positions must be the top priority. However, despite repeated efforts by this and other media outlets, no answers were given to questions of major public interest.

A completely unnecessary controversy has flared up in front of this wall of silence. dr Holohan’s so-called secondment of 187,000 euros is a spectacular own goal by the Ministry of Health.

Firstly, secondment means the temporary transfer of a civil servant or worker to another post or occupation. like dr However, Holohan himself has stated that he will not be returning to his former CMO post. The taxpayer will therefore finance his professorship indefinitely and will probably pay for the replacement in his former position.

The wealth of knowledge and experience of Dr. Holohan would enrich any campus. As he pointed out, “The third tier sector would play a crucial role in meeting the challenge of future pandemics.” The current imbroglio is so unfortunate because it was so completely avoidable.

There is no justification for the fact that we have not yet been told who approved the transfer or the decision to not have Dr. To continue paying Holohan’s salary, or why, neither the Minister of Health nor the Taoiseach Michael Martin were informed of the matter.

Any rule that construes by the public, even if wrongly, that privilege and entitlement are enmeshed in a state selection process is enormously damaging.

It has never been, and never can be, the gift of the government, or its responsible senior department official, to give preference to someone paid with their constituents’ money. The public must be able to trust the state’s selection process

Fry Electronics Team

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