*Dr Tony Holohan. Photograph: Joe Buckley

A LEADING health activist and patient advocate has said he is “outraged” by the HSE’s plans to appoint Dr Tony Holohan as a cancer consultant with a salary of €257,000.

Former Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Holohan is understood to have been the successful candidate in an open competition for a new post of consultant in public health medicine in the HSE’s National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP). He has not yet been formally offered the post.

Dr Holohan will be working specifically on cancer prevention and treatment, despite his role in the CervicalCheck scandal being the source of controversy, The Irish Independent were first to report. As Chief Medical Officer, his salary was more than €187,000. He will now be signing up to the new medical consultants’ contract salary ranging from €214,000 to €257,000.

Since 2018, Ireland’s cervical smear screening programme has been the centre of much controversy, when it was revealed that some women diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer were not told that their previous smear tests had been reviewed. More crucially, the women affected were not informed that the review concluded a different action could have been taken, either for another smear test, a smear at an earlier stage, or a cytology examination.

During the height of the pandemic when Dr Holohan’s profile was at its highest, he offered sympathy and not an apology to the women such as Vicky Phelan and Lynsey Bennett affected by the CervicalCheck controversy. On two occasions during a press conference on 21st February 2021, he was asked by Irish Independent reporter Gabija Gataveckaitė on two occasions if he wishes to apologise or say sorry to these women, he replied, “I have a huge amount of regret”.

Lahinch based cancer survivor, John Wall is livid with the HSE’s plans to appoint Dr Holohan to this role. “I am outraged. As CMO Dr Tony Holohan stood over a decision to withhold smear test results as part of the Cervical Check scandal. Lest we forget, women died and lives were destroyed as a result, the fallout of which continues to this very day”.

He told The Clare Echo, “This appointment demonstrates an appalling lack of respect to all those affected by the Cervical Check scandal, most especially given it is to The National Cancer Control Programme”.

In March 2022, it was announced Dr Holohan was stepping down as CMO. Plans for him to take on a specially created role at Trinity College while still receiving his CMO salary of €187,000 yet not carrying out the role fell through.

Since his exit from the Department of Health, the Dublin based Holohan has published a memoir which gave detail on the difficulty of serving as CMO while his wife, Dr Emer Holohan was living with a rare form of blood cancer, she sadly died in 2021.

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Subscribe for just €3 per month

If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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