Tony Holohan takes up adjunct professor role at Trinity’s school of medicine

State’s former chief medical officer also holds position of adjunct full professor of public health at UCD

The State’s former chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan has been awarded an adjunct professor title at Trinity College Dublin’s school of medicine.

Dr Holohan made the announcement on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Thursday.

“It is an honour for me to announce that I have been awarded an Adjunct Professor title in the School of Medicine, @tcddublin,” he said.

“I am looking forward to working with colleagues in the School of Medicine.”


It comes two years after Dr Holohan was due to take up a secondment to the role of professor of public health strategy and leadership at the university.

This was abandoned after it emerged the post was to be an open-ended secondment, funded by the Department of Health via the Health Research Board, and that the post was created by TCD with Dr Holohan in mind and was not put out to open competition.

A subsequent report found that Dr Holohan should not have been “exclusively personally involved in the negotiation of research funding linked to his possible secondment”.

It said that there was no detail available as to how the funding commitment of €2m annually, which was agreed by the secretary general at the Department of Health, was determined.

The report also found that the funding mechanism and the absence of detail did not meet the accepted norms of scrutiny, transparency and accountability.

Dr Holohan, who was due to step down as chief medical officer in July 2022, retired from public service in April of that year following the controversy and said he would not be taking up the position.

Since then, he has held the position of an adjunct full professor of public health at UCD, which is not remunerated.

Dr Holohan is also a non-executive board member of the Irish Hospice Foundation, while in January 2024 he became chair of FutureNeuro, Science Foundation Ireland’s research centre for chronic and rare neurological diseases.

In his memoir, We Need to Talk, published last September, Dr Holohan outlined how he came up with the idea of moving to TCD to work in public health leadership, during which he would be seconded from the Department of Health.

He described how he developed the idea and discussed it with Robert Watt, the current secretary general of the Department of Health, and Martin Fraser, then the secretary general at the Department of the Taoiseach.

“Through these conversations, I was assured that there would be support for me to be seconded,” he said.

“I had all the support I needed from both Martin and Robert. I had no reason to believe it would be anything other than a straightforward matter to progress.

“I was informed and believed that all the necessary briefings of people who needed to be aware, particularly the minister, had taken place. From my point of view, we were where we needed to be…everything was in place. Until it wasn’t.”

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times