Professor Breda Smyth has been appointed as interim chief medical officer at the Department of Health, Minster for Health Stephen Donnelly has confirmed.
Prof Smyth will replace Dr Tony Holohan who is due to resign on July 1st after 14 years in the role.
Prof Smyth is currently the professor for public health medicine in NUI Galway and consultant in public health in HSE West. She will be seconded to the department on a short term basis while the search continues for a permanent chief medical officer.
Mr Donnelly said: “While the open competition for the permanent filling of the crucial role of chief medical officer has commenced, I am conscious of the need to have in place the required leadership at all times to continue to monitor and combat covid-19 and other public health threats.
“Professor Smith has a unique skill set with the requisite mix of academic, policy and frontline experience having provided leadership, expert and professional guidance of public health nationally and in HSE West over the last number of years.
“She has contributed significantly to the national response to covid-19 in her many roles throughout the management of the pandemic.
“Professor Smyth brings this considerable experience, excellent leadership ability and extensive public health skillset to the role and I very much look forward to working with her. I thank Professor Smyth for agreeing to fill the role on an interim basis until the completion of an open competition for a permanent CMO.”
Prof Smyth completed her primary degree in Medicine in University College Galway.
She then continued her training in the Royal College of Physicians Ireland, and undertook a Masters in Public Health in University College Dublin, a Medical Doctorate in NUI Galway and a post-doctoral fellowship in UCLA.
Prof Smyth was conferred as a Member of the Faculty of Public Health Medicine of Ireland in 2005, and, in 2013, was made a Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health Medicine in Ireland.
Prof Smyth said: “I am excited to have the opportunity to work together with colleagues in the Department of Health, and across our health and social care service to build on the considerable work done, both before and during COVID-19, to promote and protect public health and the health and wellbeing of the population of Ireland.”