Dr Holohan controversy shows clear and deep dysfunctionality at the top of the health service

09 April 2022

Labour health spokesperson Duncan Smith has tonight (Saturday, 9th April) roundly criticised the leadership of the health service for their role in placing Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan at the centre of a very avoidable controversy.

Deputy Smith said:

“This whole fiasco points to a clear and deep dysfunctionality at the top of our health service. It isn’t the first time Government ministers have found themselves in this position and it won’t be the last unless serious lessons are learnt. The announcement from Dr Holohan is an attempt to bring an end to a very avoidable controversy. However, the culture at the top of our health service shows a lack of real transparency and has turned what could have been a positive move for Ireland into another very regrettable episode.

“We had an opportunity to develop a real partnership between our health service and academia to drive a project which would develop real learnings from our pandemic experience and lead future responses. Dr Holohan was uniquely placed to play a central role in such a project. 

“If this appointment was made properly and openly, I believe the public would have supported this important work.  Instead, we got no detail of what was being planned with this research, there was no transparency over the process of appointing Dr Holohan and it seems the Minister was kept out of the loop. That is unacceptable.

“There must be real scrutiny over how our senior civil servant leaders in our health service are operating and ultimately held to account. Pay, transparency and a lack of trust have all been negative hallmarks over recent months. Public confidence in the decision making at the top of our health service is heading to an all-time low. This needs to change and change immediately.”

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