Inquiry finds Holohan should not have been personally involved in creating a €2 million a year Trinity professorship for himself funding by the Department of Health without knowledge or approval from government

A report by former Unicef chief Maura Quinn on the investigation into the botched secondment of former CMO, Tony Holohan to Trinity College that involved €2 million a year in “ring-fenced” funding by the Department of Health for the role, was done without the knowledge or approval from the Taoiseach, Minister for Health, Government and the Department of Public Expenditure.

The report has sat on Stephen Donnelly’s desk since last June and was published today.

The report says Holohan should not have been personally involved in the negotiations for the position which was not advertised.

The €2m annual budget for Holohan’s work was “not based on any proposal nor costings” and the funding commitment was “unusual and outside regular processes.”

Holohan had a number of  personal confidential conversations  with  the Secretary General,Department  of  the Taoiseach, Martin Fraser about his future plans.

Conversations were also held between the  Secretary General,Department  of  Health, and  Holohan in the run up to the announcement of his open-ended appointment as Trinity’s Professor of Public Health Strategy and Leadership.

The appointment was scrapped when controversy developed around it.

“The  substantial  proposed funding commitment of €2million  a  year  until  the retirement of the Chief Medical Officer,by-passed all of the accepted protocols for research funding and was linked atypically to one named individual,” the report states.

The report makes a number of recommendations:

“No  one  individual  should  be  personally and  exclusively involved  in  any negotiation with third parties which involves the disbursement of state funds in which they have a potential personal interest.

The  proposed  secondment  of  an  individual should  not  be  dependent  upon  or conditional  on associated  research  funding being proposed  as  part  of  the  terms  of secondment.   

Research  funding  should  not  be  provided  on  the  basis that  it  is  to  be directed to a pre-named individual.”

The report is available here