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Trinity College refuses to release emails relating to Holohan job


Dr Tony Holohan

Dr Tony Holohan

Dr Tony Holohan

Trinity College in Dublin is refusing to release internal emails relating to the proposed appointment of chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan as professor of public health strategy and leadership.

Following a Freedom of Information submission by the Irish Independent, the request for all correspondence relating to the post was denied.

Victoria Butler, assistant secretary to the college, released two documents already in the public domain but cited the review on “learnings” which was set up by the Department of Health following controversy around the proposed appointment as a reason to refuse full release.

Although reference in the announcement of the review by Maura Quinn indicated it only related to the Department of Health, the college said “at this time it would be contrary to the public interest until such time as the review has been completed”.

It was announced in March that Dr Holohan was taking up the appointment.

It emerged in early April he would remain a Department of Health employee on his salary of €187,000 while on permanent secondment to the university.

Trinity College would not pay his salary.

Secretary General Robert Watt had given a commitment to fund the teaching and research post at €2m a year which would amount to around €20m until Dr Holohan retired.

Dr Holohan was due to take up the role this summer, but following controversy over the arrangement, and the pausing of the process by Taoiseach Micheál Martin pending a report on the matter, he announced he would not accept it and would retire in July.

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Trinity College, in refusing to release the internal correspondence, said it was doing so under the section that the “record concerned contains matter relating to the deliberative processes of a Freedom of Information body, including opinions, advice, recommendations, and the results of consultations, considered by the body, the head of the body, or a member of the body or of the staff of the body for the purpose of those processes”.

This also relates to its opinion that the release would be “contrary to the public interest”.

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