'We owe him a great debt of gratitude' - Micheal Martin leads tributes to 'patriot' Dr Tony Holohan

'We owe him a great debt of gratitude' - Micheal Martin leads tributes to 'patriot' Dr Tony Holohan

TRIBUTES have been pouring in for Dr Tony Holohan following the announcement that he would be stepping down from his role as Ireland's Chief Medical Officer due to family reasons.

Taoiseach Micheal Martin took to Twitter on Thursday evening to extend his thanks to Holohan, stressing that his guidance and leadership have been a key component in steering Ireland through the Covid-19 crisis.

"His work, experience and briefings helped people to understand the gravity of the situation facing us, while his calmness reassured us that if we followed the guidelines and advice we would overcome these great challenges together," Martin wrote in a statement.

"Every home in Ireland has come to know Dr Tony Holohan. His leadership during the pandemic has given us all confidence that the decisions being made are based on solid public health advice.

"As a country we owe him and his family a great debt of gratitude."

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar also thanked Dr Holohan for his services.

"For months everyone in Ireland has felt safe because you were looking after our families. As you step back, know that all of us stand behind you and your wonderful family," Varadkar said last night.

Former Health Minister Simon Harris meanwhile described Dr Holohan as "a patriot, an incredible public servant & a doctor who has saved thousands of lives through his leadership".

Dr Holohan has become the face of Ireland's fight against Covid-19, having made almost daily appearances on national television to provide updates and advice since the pandemic began.

He's spent the last few months supplying the Irish people with crucial details about coronavirus, what to expect from lockdown and how to prevent further spread of the virus.

He admitted the reason for his resignation was so that he could spend more time with his family, adding that his wife had been suffering from cancer since 2012.

Dr Ronan Glynn, the deputy CMO, has been appointed Acting Chief Medical Officer and will chair the Department of Health’s press conferences.