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THANK YOU TONY: How a family in Dublin were touched by a letter from Ireland’s CMO

In recent times Dr Tony Holohan Chief Medical Officer in the Republic of Ireland, has gained much respect for his response and contribution to leading his country through the onslaught of COVID-19.

Dr Tony Holohan

However, it is his response to a little girl’s letter, Lydia Browne (Dublin), that has really caught people’s attention.

Lydia’s mum, Niamh Slack, took to social media to share the letter and how touched she was, that in the midst of the busyness of his role, but more importantly in the personal challenges he has been facing with his wife being very ill, he took time to reply and write a letter to a little girl.

Niamh wrote: “In the middle of everything, when things were at their worst, you took the time to write to our little girl. #ThankYouTony”.

The letter from Dr Tony Holohan

Dr Holohan’s wife Emer was diagnosed with myeloma, a form of blood cancer, in 2012. After a number of difficult years battling the disease, Emer was admitted for palliative care last weekend.

In a statement released on Thursday, Dr Holohan said: “From today, I will be taking time out from all of my work commitments to be with my family My wife, Emer, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer, in 2012. She has had a number of difficult years with her disease and was admitted for palliative care last Saturday. I now want to give my energy, attention and all of my time to Emer and to our two teenage children, Clodagh and Ronan.

Dr Tony Holohan’s full statement

“As a husband and father, and as a public health doctor, I'm conscious that we all have been through tough times together over the last number of months and many families across the country have teen affected by the course of COViD-19, suffering pain and loss of loved ones. I hope that we can all remain working together to continue to stay vigilant, keep our social distance, and take personal responsibility for our own health, in the first instance, as well as tooking after our family members and friends and those we care about most.”

Northern Ireland’s Health Minister Robin Swann, and Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride issued a joint statement giving their support to Dr Holohan at this difficult time: “Our thoughts are very much with Dr Tony Holohan, his wife Emer, their children and family circle at this time.

“We have worked very closely with Tony and his colleagues in the Republic of Ireland from the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic. We very much appreciate all their support, co-operation and friendship.

“This is devastating news. The family can be assured of the support and compassion of everyone across this island.”

A member of the public made comment on social media: “Tony Holohan’s wife is receiving palliative care yet he led one of the most effective responses to COVID-19 in Europe AND took the time to write the perfect letter to a little girl. Ireland’s Chief Medical Officer showed a kindness and decency rarely seen in public office. Stormont take note!”

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