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 https://www.gov.ie/pdf/?file=https://assets.gov.ie/253682/e2c3491a-e793-46b7-84f1-6ed31084709d.pdf#page=null