Tag Archives: Robert Watt

Outgoing Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan and Robert Watt, Secretary General at the Department of Health

This morning.


Robert Watt, secretary general at the department of health, has been facing questions about the appointment of Tony Holohan to a tax-payer funded role at Trinity Collge Dublin.

Via RTÉ News:

At the time the letter [to Trinity provost from Mr Watt requesting the vacancy for Dr Holohan] was written, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly did not know about this commitment.

At the Committee, Sinn Féin Health spokesperson David Cullinane said this was a display of breathtaking arrogance from Mr Watt, who he said had no such authority to make such a pledge.

He told Mr Watt that he had lost the run of himself.

Mr Watt strongly rejected “this characterisation”.

He insisted the secondment of Dr Holohan was “to give effect to the clear intention” of the Government and it did not sanction the spending of public money.

This would have to be done later by Mr Donnelly during the estimates process, he said.

However, Fine Gael Senator Colm Burke said the letter to Trinity College was effectively a contract and he suggested the Attorney General would likely agree with him on this point.

Watt defends handling of proposed Holohan secondment (RTE)


Secretary General at the Department of Health Robert Watt


This afternoon.

Robert Watt says it is not ‘reasonable’ to attend another Oireachtas committee for questions on Holohan-Trinity affair (Independent.ie)


Ah now.


From top: Linda Doyle, Provost of Trinity College Dublin; Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan, and Robert Watt, Secretary General at the Department of Health

This morning/afternoon.

Via Independent.ie:

“Under the proposed agreement, the Department of Health commits to provide for the secondment of Dr Tony Holohan who will continue to receive a salary at his existing level (i.e. salary, terms and conditions equivalent to the position of Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health) on the date of signing of the agreement including any improvements, awards or regrading that may apply to the position of Chief Medical Officer over the duration of the secondment.

“It would make an annual ring-fenced allocation of €2m for the duration of the secondment, to be administered through the Health Research Board, a body under the aegis of the Department of Health, to support the development and activities of an interinstitutional collaboration led by Dr Holohan from his position in Trinity College Dublin.”

A letter from Secretary General Robert Watt to Trinity College Provost Linda Doyle two weeks before Tony Holohan’s TCD role was announced.


The Health Research Board, meanwhile, said it had no knowledge of such arrangement to pay Dr Holohan.


Robert Watt’s ‘strictly confidential’ letter to Trinity agreed Department of Health would give €2m a year for Holohan secondment (Independent.ie)


From top: Robert Watt and Dr Tony Holohan

This afternoon.

Via RTÉ news:

The Watt Report into the abandoned appointment of Dr Tony Holohan to a post at TCD says the Minister for Health was not informed of details or that it was even a secondment, RTÉ News has learned.

Robert Watt, Department Secretary General, has argued that it was his area of delegated responsibility under the law, so the minister did not need to be informed.

It says there are many secondments, perhaps 50/60 between the Department, HSE, other bodies and that it not an unusual thing and not a matter for the minister, but a staffing and personnel issue.

It indicates that the CMO may have initiated the contact with Trinity and it developed from there.

The report acknowledges that more information sooner would have been better, but that the appointment leaked and the department had to put out statements.

It says the funding had not been agreed fully at that stage, but it may have been done through the Health Research Board…

More as we get it.

Minister did not need to be informed of CMO secondment – Watt Report (RTE)


Why the long faces?

This morning.

Dublin 2.

Wage-stuffed HSE CEO Paul Reid and salary-happy Secretary General at the Department of Health Robert Watt (above) arrive at Kildare House before a meeting with the Joint Committee on Health to discuss the oversight of Slaintecare following the publication yesterday by the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly the ‘Sláintecare Implementation Strategy and Action Plan Progress Report 2021’.

Minister for Health publishes Sláintecare Progress Report 2021 (Gov.ie)


Robert Watt, Secretary General at the Department of Health

This afternoon.

Via Independent.ie:

Under-fire Department of Health secretary-general Robert Watt this week jetted out to Dubai to attend a health and wellness expo, as controversy continues to rage over his €81,000 salary increase.

Mr Watt and Health Minister Stephen Donnelly are attending a massive international showcase in the heart of the United Arab Emirates.

It is understood they flew to the event in economy-class seats and are not staying in one of the more expensive hotels in Dubai.


“Robert Watt can’t turn up to a committee but can head off to Dubai,” Fianna Fail TD John McGuinnness said, in reference to Mr Watt’s decision on whether to appear before a joint Finance and Public Account Committee hearing on his controversial top-up.

Robert Watt jets out to Dubai for wellness conference amid €295k wage storm (RTE)


This morning.

Kildare Street, Dublin 2.

Newly-appointed, well renumerated, secretary general at Department of Health Robert Watt enters Kildare House to report to the Oireachtas Health Committee.

The Committee will question him about the RTÉ Prime Time Investigates programme which alleged that the Department of Health was secretly compiling dossiers on children with autism.

Sam Boal/RollingNews


Robert Watt

This afternoon.


There must be a catch.

Previously: Ask A Broadsheet Reader

“Who Took This Decision”


Public Expenditure and Reform, Secretary General Robert Watt

This morning.

Irish Tax Payer writes:

The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform has set a new pay rate of €292,000 for the position of secretary general of the Department of Health.

The current Civil Service salary regulations set the the highest grade at €211,000 so this new rate represents a 40% pay increase.

The current head of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform who set and approved this salary increase is… Robert Watt.

It is widely reported that the top job at the Department of Health will go to…wait for it….Robert Watt.

Conflict of interest?


Robert Watt to become new secretary general of Department of Health (irish Times)


Secretary General of the Department of Public Expenditure Robert Watt

Secretary General at the Department of Robert Watt previously called for the procurement process into the National Broadband Plan to be cancelled.

Despite his warning, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe signed off on it.




Previously: ‘A Harvey Smith To The Committee’

‘The Procurement Process Should Be Cancelled’

‘How Could They Get It So Cheap?’