Elaine Byrne: Watt isn’t the only one who needs to learn lessons from the Holohan debacle

Top civil servant Robert Watt, whose salary has earned him some notoriety, may be a convenient scapegoat in the secondment controversy but politicians, including the Taoiseach and some junior ministers, are not without blame

Taoiseach Micheál Martin didn’t help matters when he intervened to call for a ‘pause’ in Tony Holohan’s secondment. Picture: Julien Behal

In principle, the secondment of Dr Tony Holohan to a post at Trinity College was a good idea. As Robert Watt, the secretary-general at the Department of Health, wrote in his briefing note on the controversy, it was a means of ensuring that “the lessons learned over the last two years are retained in our system and applied to the development of the next generation of thinking and practice in public health”.

The intentions were ...