Health Minister announces members of new Covid-19 Advisory Group to replace NPHET
Details of the group's responsibilities have also been unveiled.
The Government has announced the establishment of the new Covid-19 Advisory Group that will replace the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) after its disbanding in February.
The group will be chaired by Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Tony Holohan and is set to advise the Government on how best to maximise Ireland’s medium to long-term preparedness against the virus.
Following reports of their potential involvement earlier on Friday, Trinity professor Luke O'Neill and President of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland Mary Horgan have been named as members of the group.
This is alongside Deputy CMO Ronan Glynn, modelling expert for NPHET Philip Nolan and HSE Chief Clinical Officer Colm Henry.
In a statement, the Department of Health said the group will:
- Note the evolving epidemiological assessment of Covid provided by the monitoring processes in place through the Office of the CMO
- Monitor new and emerging evidence with regard to existing technologies, practices and interventions for the detection and control of Covid
- Undertake horizon scanning, including internationally, such that new technologies, practices and interventions may be appropriately integrated into the public health response to any emerging Covid threat
- Advise the Health Minister and Government on experiences in other countries and jurisdictions in relation to Covid, where there are implications and/or potential learnings or actions for Ireland
- Advise the Health Minister and Government on medium and long-term responses that may become necessary as part of the response to Covid
The Department said that since the disbanding of NPHET, Ireland has transitioned from the emergency phase of the pandemic.
As a result, the focus has moved from regulation and population-wide restrictions to public health advice, personal judgement and personal protective behaviours.
"This new phase of Ireland’s response to Covid-19 requires an approach that is informed by national and international evidence, grounded in best public health practice, with a broad, multidisciplinary membership encompassing members with specific expertise and experience in areas of strategic and/or operational responsibility," the Department stated.
Announcing the establishment of the group, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said:
"Our hospitalisations are falling at present, which is reassuring.
"However, Covid-19 remains a threat and there is no way to know for sure what lies ahead. We need to be prepared.
"The Covid-19 Advisory Group will make best use of national expertise, international data and evidence.
"I would like to thank the members of the group for volunteering their time and energy to Ireland’s ongoing response to this pandemic."
The Department of Health said the Covid-19 Advisory Group will organise its work through regular plenary meetings convened by the Chair.
It also stated that, in accordance with the "One Person One Salary" principle, members will not receive any additional renumeration or allowance for their work in the group.
A list of the group's members can be found below.
- Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan - Chair
- Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn
- Chief Clinical Officer, HSE Dr Colm Henry
- Chair of the IEMAG Prof Philip Nolan
- Chair of the HIQA Covid-19 Expert Advisory Group Prof Máirín Ryan
- Chair of the AMRIC Dr Eimear Brannigan
- Director, HPSC Dr Derval Igoe
- Regional Director of Public Health Dr John Cuddihy
- General Practitioner Dr Tadhg Crowley
- President RCPI Prof Mary Horgan
- Consultant Microbiologist Dr Anne Rose Prior
- Consultant in Infectious Diseases Prof Paddy Mallon
- ESRI Behavioural Research Unit Prof Pete Lunn
- Director, National Virus Reference Laboratory Dr Cillian de Gascun
- Professor of Physical Chemistry Prof John Wenger
- Senior Lecturer in Biochemistry Dr Anne Moore
- Professor of Biochemistry and Immunology Prof Luke O’Neill
- Professor, Chair in Comparative Immunology Prof Clíona O’Farrelly
- Head of Health Protection Division, DOH Mr Fergal Goodman
- Representative of the Department of the Taoiseach TBC
Main images via Leah Farrell and Sam Boal / RollingNews.ie