Professor Breda Smyth has been appointed interim Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health, replacing Dr Tony Holohan who announced in recent months that he was stepping away from the role.
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly announced that Professor Smyth will take up the role at the Department from 4 July, pending the completion of an open competition to fill the role on a permanent basis.
She is being seconded to the Department on a short-term basis.
Dr Tony Holohan will resign as CMO on 1 July after 14 years in the role.
Professor Smyth has specialised in public health for the last 16 years. She is currently Professor for Public Health Medicine in NUI Galway and Consultant in Public Health in HSE West.
Minister Donnelly said: "Professor Smyth contributed significantly to Ireland's Covid-19 response having been a member of the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), the Rapid Testing Expert Advisory Group; Chief Investigator on the multi-site study UniCoV study as well as her important duties as the Director of Public Health in HSE West.
"Professor Smyth was also a founding member of the Covid-19 - Irish Epidemiology Modelling Advisory Group (IEMAG)."
He added: "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."
Professor 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."