John Connaghan to leave role as HSE director general

Anne O’Connor to be second person to fill post pending appointment of Tony O’Brien’s successor

HSE director general John Connaghan is to step down from the post at the end of the year. File image: Oireachtas screengrab via PA.

John Connaghan, who became director general of the HSE pending the appointment of a successor to Tony O'Brien, is to step down from the post at the end of the year.

Mr Connaghan was appointed last May by Minister for Health Simon Harris following the departure of Mr O'Brien at the height of the CervicalCheck controversy.

He was appointed pending the completion of a recruitment campaign to find a permanent successor to Mr O’Brien. However, the move to find a new director general was not successful and a second recruitment campaign was launched by the Government last week.

The Irish Times reported earlier this week that Government may be prepared to pay a salary of about €300,000 to the next head of the HSE.


Mr Connaghan is to be succeeded on an interim basis by HSE deputy director general Anne O'Connor. He joined the HSE in August of last year as the deputy director general and chief operating officer having previously worked for NHS Scotland.

“John Connaghan has shown exemplary leadership and I want him to thank him sincerely for occupying the position at a critical time in the health service,” Mr Harris said, adding that the role of director general had been advertised with applications due to close in early January.

Mr Harris said he wanted to thank Ms O’Connor “for her leadership and commitment”.

“She has a track record of improving services for patients and clients and I look forward to working with her in the period ahead.”

Martin Wall

Martin Wall

Martin Wall is the former Washington Correspondent of The Irish Times. He was previously industry correspondent