Tony Holohan will not be moving to Trinity College

Dr Tony Holohan has decided not to pursue his move to Trinity College.

The CMO’s decision was hampered by controversy over pay deals and was halted yesterday by Taoiseach Michéal Martin.

In a statement on Saturday, Dr Holohan said he had decided not to proceed with his secondment as Professor of Public Health Leadership and Strategy at Trinity College Dublin.

“I intend to retire as CMO effective July 1 to allow sufficient time for the Department of Health to move forward with the process of appointing my successor,” he said.

I don’t want the controversy of the last few days to continue. In particular, I wish to avoid any further unnecessary distraction this has caused our senior politicians and officials.

“I strongly believe this was an important opportunity to work with the academic sector to build 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 sharing my knowledge and expertise outside the public service.”

Speaking on the decision, the provost of Trinity College Dublin, Dr Linda Doyle, said:

“It is a huge loss for the Irish education sector and for all students who would have learned so much from Dr Holohan’s experience.”

It comes as the Taoiseach said he would be looking for documents and records related to Dr Holohan’s secondment to Trinity College.

Micheál Martin will be looking for documents and records related to Tony Holohan’s secondment to Trinity College Dublin. Photo: Julien Behal/PA

Mr Martin had made the dramatic intervention in the outgoing CMO’s move in a bid to gain ‘transparency’ around the move.

Mr Martin has asked Health Minister Stephen Donnelly and the Secretary General of the Department of Health, Robert Watt, to provide him with a report on the approval of the role next week.

The Taoiseach told reporters in Helsinki that there should be “an assessment of all aspects” of the appointment and that there was time to do so as Dr Holohan was not due to take office until early July.

“I have asked the Minister of Health for a full report on the whole process which led to this appointment and the Minister has asked the Secretary General for this report,” the Taoiseach said.

“There seems to have been a number of strands to that in terms of a research strand, and I think we all understand the merit of having additional capacity and a bigger research platform around the readiness to the pandemic, given the experiences we’ve had over the past two years.

In my opinion it should be put on hold, it should be a reassessment of how the goals that underlie all of this can be achieved in a better and more transparent way [way].”

The Taoiseach said he would like to see the report on Monday, while Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said it would be to collect documents and records relating to the creation and filling of the role.

The Tánaiste said this report would determine whether a secondment was necessary. Mr Varadkar said the report was requested “so that we can ensure that the procedures were followed correctly”.

Sinn Féin health spokesman David Cullinane said the Taoiseach’s intervention was “a remarkable sign of how the Minister [Mr Donnelly] is in the dark and has not seen the reality in front of him.” Mr Cullinane said Mr Watt could not be the only person to make the report because of his role in approving the posting.

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