Dr Tony Holohan returns to work as chief medical officer

Nphet chairman’s wife Dr Emer Feely died in February prompting outpouring of sympathy

The State’s chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan has returned to work.

Dr Holohan’s wife Dr Emer Feely died after long illness in February.

On Tuesday, the Department of Health said: “The Department can confirm that CMO Dr Tony Holohan has resumed his duties.”

He returned on Monday.


Dr Holohan was the public face of the State’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic in his role as chairman of the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet).

He became a household name throughout the country for fronting the daily press briefings on live television.

The State’s deputy chief medical officer Ronan Glynn has been deputising for Dr Holohan at Nphet’s media briefings and elsewhere, operating as acting chief medical officer.

Dr Feely, a specialist in public health medicine and a medical graduate of UCD, had been battling a terminal form of blood cancer, multiple myeloma, since 2012.

Dr Holohan took time out from his work duties last summer to helping with the care of his wife after she entered palliative care in early July.

He said at the time that he wanted to give his “energy, attention and all of my time” to his wife and to their two teenage children, Clodagh and Ronan.

He then returned to the role in October.

The death of Dr Feely led to outpouring of sympathy for Dr Holohan and his family, and praise for his public service during the global pandemic.

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones is a political reporter with The Irish Times