Dr. Tony Holohan to step aside as Chief Medical Officer
Holohan is stepping away for family reasons.
Dr. Tony Holohan, who has served as the Department of Health's Chief Medical Officer throughout the Covid-19 crisis, has confirmed that he is stepping aside from the role and all work commitments, effective from today.
At this evening's briefing by the National Public Health Emergency Team, Holohan told reporters that he had informed the Taoiseach Micheál Martin that he would be standing down temporarily in order to spend time with his wife, who was diagnosed with a form of blood cancer in 2012.
Holohan further confirmed that he is vacating the role as his wife Eimear is receiving palliative care, and asked for his family's privacy to be respected at this time.
Speaking after the scheduled Covid-19 update, Dr Holohan said that he had informed relevant government figures of his decision:
"I have spoken with the Taoiseach, Minister for Health and other colleagues about this, and they have all kindly offered their support and best wishes to both of us.
"A plan has been put in train for others to take over responsibility for different aspects of my role. The Department will issue a statement in due course when that has been finalised."
Ronan Glynn, who has served as acting CMO throughout the Covid-19 crisis, will take over in an Acting CMO capacity. Glynn will chair all future press conferences.
"As a husband and father, and as a public health doctor, I’m conscious that we all have been through tough times together over the last number of months and many families across the country have been affected by the course of COVID-19, suffering pain and loss of loved ones," Dr Holohan said.
"I hope that we can all remain working together to continue to stay vigilant, keep our social distance, and take personal responsibility for our own health, in the first instance, as well as looking after our family members and friends and those we care about most", he continued.
Dr Holohan has been the Chief Medical Officer for the Republic of Ireland since 2008.
"I would like to thank everyone for their ongoing support, understanding and respect for my family’s privacy and would wish that to continue," his statement concluded.
Speaking after the announcement, the new Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said Dr Tony Holohan had been "a rock" for Ireland during the Covid-19 crisis, and reiterated Dr Holohan's request for privacy.
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly speaking here at @roinnslainte after Tony Holohan steps away from CMO role.
He says the change is effect of immediately.
Dr Glynn chaired the NPHET meeting today @JOEdotie pic.twitter.com/MxnzLImrty
— Rob O'Hanrahan (@RobOHanrahan) July 2, 2020
With reporting from Rob O'Hanrahan.