Minister for Health (Ireland)

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Minister for Health
LeoVaradkar.JPG
Incumbent
Leo Varadkar

since 11 July 2014
Appointer President of Ireland on the nomination of the Taoiseach
Inaugural holder James Ryan
Formation 22 January 1947
Website health.gov.ie

The Minister for Health (Irish: An tAire Sláinte) is the senior minister at the Department of Health in the Government of Ireland and is responsible for healthcare in the Republic of Ireland and related services.

The current Minister for Health is Leo Varadkar, TD. He is assisted by:

History[edit]

Health care formed part of the portfolio of the Minister for Local Government and Public Health until 22 January 1947. On that date the new position of Minister for Health was created, with complete control over all policy regarding health care provision in Ireland. In later years, the health portfolio was occasionally coupled with that for social welfare portfolio, in which case the incumbent was known as the Minister for Health and Social Welfare.

In recent years, and especially since the tenure of Michael Noonan in 1994–1997, being appointed as minister has become somewhat of a "poisoned chalice" in government circles and a portfolio to be avoided by aspiring politicians, during his tenure Brian Cowen famously referred to the Department of Health as Angola due the fact that there were landmines everywhere.[1] A number of scandals, mostly due to medical negligence, have meant that the minister immediately becomes identified with the scandal. For instance the Hepatitis C scandal, the withholding of baby organs without parental consent or knowledge, the Michael Neary saga in Drogheda and other high profile medical scandals have dogged the minister and department. Additionally the minister has to deal with logistic issues not seen in other departments such as strikes, shortages and queues which are all too familiar in clinics and hospitals around the country.

Overview[edit]

The Minister's duties include the creation and assessment of policy for the health services. The main policy sections of the Department, together with their responsibilities, are:

Child Care[edit]

  • Child care legislation
  • National Children's Office

Continuing Care[edit]

  • Services for homeless adults
  • Services for people with disabilities
  • Services for the elderly and palliative care

Finance[edit]

  • Health insurance
  • Hospital planning
  • Public-Private Partnerships

Personnel Management and Development[edit]

  • Nursing policy
  • Personnel management and development

Primary Care[edit]

  • Community health (child health, dental services, AIDS, reproductive health)
  • General medical services

Secondary Care[edit]

  • Blood policy
  • Hospital services

Strategic Policy and Corporate Services[edit]

  • Corporate Services
  • Health promotion
  • Health Strategy Legislation

List of office-holders[edit]

  Denotes acting Minister

Minister for Local Government and Public Health 1924–1947[edit]

No. Name Term of office Party
Séamus Burke 2 June 1924 23 June 1927 Cumann na nGaedheal
4. Richard Mulcahy 23 June 1927 9 March 1932 Cumann na nGaedheal
5. Seán T. O'Kelly 9 March 1932 8 September 1939 Fianna Fáil
6. P. J. Ruttledge 8 September 1939 14 August 1941 Fianna Fáil
7. Éamon de Valera (acting) 15 August 1941 18 August 1941 Fianna Fáil
8. Seán MacEntee 18 August 1941 22 January 1947 Fianna Fáil

Minister for Health 1947–1997[edit]

No. Name Term of office Party
1. James Ryan (1st time) 22 January 1947 18 February 1948 Fianna Fáil
2. Noël Browne 18 February 1948 11 April 1951 Clann na Poblachta
3. John A. Costello (acting) 12 April 1951 13 June 1951 Fine Gael
*James Ryan (2nd time) 13 June 1951 2 June 1954 Fianna Fáil
4. Tom O'Higgins 2 June 1954 20 March 1957 Fine Gael
5. *Seán MacEntee 20 March 1957 21 April 1965 Fianna Fáil
6. Donogh O'Malley 21 April 1965 13 July 1966 Fianna Fáil
7. Seán Flanagan 13 July 1966 2 July 1969 Fianna Fáil
8. Erskine H. Childers 2 July 1969 14 March 1973 Fianna Fáil
9. *Brendan Corish 14 March 1973 5 July 1977 Labour Party
10. *Charles Haughey 5 July 1977 11 December 1979 Fianna Fáil
11. *Michael Woods (1st time) 12 December 1979 30 June 1981 Fianna Fáil
12. *Eileen Desmond 30 June 1981 9 March 1982 Labour Party
*Michael Woods (2nd time) 9 March 1982 14 December 1982 Fianna Fáil
13. *Barry Desmond 14 December 1982 20 January 1987 Labour Party
14. John Boland 20 January 1987 10 March 1987 Fine Gael
15. Rory O'Hanlon 10 March 1987 14 November 1991 Fianna Fáil
16. Mary O'Rourke 14 November 1991 11 February 1992 Fianna Fáil
17. John O'Connell 11 February 1992 12 January 1993 Fianna Fáil
18. Brendan Howlin 12 January 1993 17 November 1994 Labour Party
*Michael Woods (3rd time) 17 November 1994 15 December 1994 Fianna Fáil
19. Michael Noonan 15 December 1994 26 June 1997 Fine Gael
20. Brian Cowen 26 June 1997 12 July 1997 Fianna Fáil

Minister for Health and Children 1997–2011[edit]

No. Name Term of office Party
Brian Cowen 12 July 1997 27 January 2000 Fianna Fáil
21. Micheál Martin 27 January 2000 29 September 2004 Fianna Fáil
22. Mary Harney 29 September 2004 19 January 2011 PD / Ind
23. Mary Coughlan 20 January 2011 9 March 2011 Fianna Fáil

Minister for Health 2011–present[edit]

No. Name Term of office Party
24. James Reilly 9 March 2011 11 July 2014 Fine Gael
25. Leo Varadkar 11 July 2014 Incumbent Fine Gael

The asterisk (*) indicates ministers who held the Health and Social Welfare portfolios simultaneously.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Fergal Bowers (1 January 2003). "Heath – review of the year". IrishHealth.com. Retrieved 15 May 2008. 

External links[edit]