Stephen Donnelly admits ‘lessons need to be learnt’ as he orders external report into Tony Holohan job fiasco

Stephen Donnelly has admitted that “lessons need to be learnt” after the fiasco surrounding Dr Tony Holohan in recent weeks.

The Chief Medical Officer has now announced he will not take up a new job at Trinity College – after the Taoiseach asked for a report into the matter following controversy that the Department of Health would continue to pay his €187,000 salary.

It would have cost the Department of Health €2 million over 10 years and Health Minister Donnelly wasn’t made aware about the finer details of the move.

Read more: Taoiseach says Tony Holohan job fiasco is ‘regrettable’ as report into controversy published

Now though, the Minister has ordered an external report into the debacle.

Minister Donnelly said: “There has been criticism that the Department did not outline the full details of what was being proposed when it was announced.

“The Department has accepted that the proposed arrangements should have been communicated earlier.

“The Department also acknowledges that there are lessons to be learnt.

“I am initiating a review, having regard to the process of the proposed secondment of the Chief Medical Officer and research proposal, to examine learnings and recommendations that could inform future such initiatives.

“I am appointing an external expert to carry out this review.”

Minister Donnelly also said it is appropriate for there to be “scrutiny” of significant appointments but such scrutiny should “devoid of personalised commentary directed at civil servants who are working in good faith with good intentions.”

It’s understood Minister Donnelly is referring to the Secretary General of the Department of Health, Robert Watt.

In his report to Minister Donnelly, Mr Watt, said it is “disappointing that some commentary alleges erroneously that I failed to keep the Minister appropriately informed.”

He said Minister Donnelly was “not involved in the specific terms” of the arrangements between Dr Holohan, the Department and Trinity College but that the Minister was informed and supported Dr Holohan’s announcement.

READ MORE:Dr Tony Holohan announces plan to retire as CMO and not take up Trinity job after ‘controversy’

READ MORE: Micheal Martin puts Dr Tony Holohan’s appointment to taxpayer-funded Trinity College role on hold

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