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Dr Tony Holohan to step down from role as CMO today

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Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan. Photo: Colin Keegan/Collins

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan. Photo: Colin Keegan/Collins

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan. Photo: Colin Keegan/Collins

Today marks Dr Tony Holohan’s final day as Ireland’s chief medical officer after 14 years in the role.

Dr Holohan announced in March that he would step down from his position as CMO to take up an academic role in Trinity College, but this became embroiled in controversy and he decided not to take the post.

He has indicated he will be open to offers from the private sector.

Dr Holohan has steered Ireland’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic by chairing the National Public Health Emergency Team ( Nphet), which also advised on Government policy.

Deputy chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn left the Department of Health in May to take up a job in EY consulting, a private sector firm which has provided services to the HSE.

Professor Breda Smyth has been appointed as interim Chief Medical Officer.

Prof Smyth will take up the role on July 4 until the competition to find a permanent Chief Medical Officer has been completed.

The Department of Health said Professor Smyth “contributed significantly” to Ireland’s Covid-19 response having been a member of the Nphet and the Rapid Testing Expert Advisory Group.

Prof Smyth was also a founding member of the Covid-19 - Irish Epidemiology Modelling Advisory Group (IEMAG).

Dr Colm Henry offered his best wishes to Dr Holohan on his last day and acknowledged his “leadership and commitment” in what was a “huge personal sacrifice for him and his family”.

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In a post online, Dr Henry said: “On Dr Tony Holohan’s last day as @CMOIreland, I want to acknowledge his leadership, courage and commitment throughout his tenure and the clarity he brought at a time of fear and uncertainty. This involved great personal sacrifice for him and his family. Tá muid faoi chomaoin aige.”

This comes as Paul Reid announced on Monday that he would be stepping down as the chief executive officer of the HSE.

Mr Reid said he plans to spend more time with his family, he will be stepping down from the position in December.

The HSE boss is cutting short his five-year term, which was due to end in May 2024.

Mr Reid’s appointment in 2019 followed almost a year-long search for a new HSE head in 2019 after an improved offer of €250,000 failed to attract top candidates.

Anne O’Connor, the chief operations officer in the HSE, is also leaving the HSE to become managing director of VHI Health and Wellbeing, a subsidiary of the insurer.

Ms O’Connor has overseen hospital and community activities during the pandemic.

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