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The new group will advise Government over the medium to long-term on how to manage Covid-19. Screengrab/The Late Late Show
nphet nua

Luke O'Neill and Mary Horgan among members of new group to replace NPHET

The Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan will chair the Government’s new Covid-19 Advisory Group.

LAST UPDATE | 8 Apr 2022

PROFESSOR LUKE O’NEILL, alongside infectious disease experts Professor Mary Horgan and Paddy Mallon have been confirmed as members of the Government’s new Covid-19 advisory group.

The Department of Health has confirmed the membership of the Covid-19 Advisory Group in a statement sent out this evening.

Ventilation expert John Wenger is also a member of the group that will include familiar public health experts such as deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn, Professor Philip Nolan, and the HSE’s Dr Colm Henry.

The group will be chaired by Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan.

The new group to replace the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) will be much smaller than the previous. 

It is understood that the Government believes some new “fresh” thinking is required two years into the pandemic. 

There is also a view that the group has been dominated by the specialty of public health experts, with a focus now in the phase of the pandemic to include expertise in other areas such as virology, infectious diseases, microbiology, science and epidemiological disease modelling. 

4522 Micheal Martin Micheal Martin at the launch portrait of Professor Mary Horgan, President, Royal College of Physicians of Ireland Dublin.

The new group will advise Government over the medium to long term of managing Covid-19, but will not be serving in the same capacity as NPHET has over the last two years. 

Government sources have said the emergency phase of the pandemic over, so the new advisory body will be more in the background and not recommending on matters such as the introduction of restrictions.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said: “I am delighted to announce the Covid-19 Advisory Group and its membership today. This very excellent group includes a wide range of expertise.

“Our hospitalisations are falling at present, which is reassuring. However, Covid-19 remains a threat and there is no way to know for sure what lies ahead. We need to be prepared. The Covid Advisory Group will make best use of national expertise, international data and evidence.”


It emerged earlier this week that Dr Holohan was stepping down as the country’s Chief Medical Officer to take up the role as a Professor of Public Health Strategy and Leadership at TCD in July. 

However, speaking in Helsinki this morning, the Taoiseach said that process should be paused. 

“There has to be transparency. There has to be good process and procedure. I don’t see this just as a human resource issue or a personnel issue in its own right, which I can understand.

“In my view, you know, it should be paused. There should be a reassessment as to how the objectives that are behind this can be realised in a better and more transparent way.”

It emerged this week that the post Dr Holohan was to take up is an “open-ended secondment” paid for by the Department of Health under the same terms as Dr Holohan’s existing contract. 

Recent reports show the CMO’s salary is around €187,000 per year.

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