Minister for Health (Ireland)

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Minister for Health
Irish Government Logo.png
Stephen Donnelly 2016.jpg
Incumbent
Stephen Donnelly

since 27 June 2020
Department of Health
Member of
Reports toTaoiseach
SeatDublin, Ireland
AppointerPresident of Ireland on the nomination of the Taoiseach
Inaugural holderJames Ryan
Formation22 January 1947
WebsiteDepartment of Health

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 Stephen Donnelly, TD.[1] 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 the past, it was common for the minister to also hold the position of Minister for 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 referred to the Department of Health as Angola because there were landmines everywhere.[3] 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 Government(s)[a]
1 Séamus Burke 2 June 1924 23 June 1927 Cumann na nGaedheal 2nd EC
2 Richard Mulcahy 23 June 1927 9 March 1932 Cumann na nGaedheal 3rd EC · 4th EC · 5th EC
3 Seán T. O'Kelly 9 March 1932 8 September 1939 Fianna Fáil 6th EC · 7th EC · 8th EC · 1st · 2nd
4 P. J. Ruttledge 8 September 1939 14 August 1941 Fianna Fáil 2nd
5 Éamon de Valera (acting) 15 August 1941 18 August 1941 Fianna Fáil 2nd
6 Seán MacEntee 18 August 1941 22 January 1947 Fianna Fáil 2nd · 3rd · 4th

Minister for Health 1947–1997[edit]

No. Name Term of office Party Government(s)
1 James Ryan (1st time)[b] 22 January 1947 18 February 1948 Fianna Fáil 4th
2 Noël Browne 18 February 1948 11 April 1951 Clann na Poblachta 5th
3 John A. Costello (acting) 12 April 1951 13 June 1951 Fine Gael 5th
James Ryan (2nd time)[b] 13 June 1951 2 June 1954 Fianna Fáil 6th
4 Tom O'Higgins 2 June 1954 20 March 1957 Fine Gael 7th
5 Seán MacEntee[b] 20 March 1957 21 April 1965 Fianna Fáil 8th · 9th · 10th
6 Donogh O'Malley 21 April 1965 13 July 1966 Fianna Fáil 11th
7 Seán Flanagan 13 July 1966 2 July 1969 Fianna Fáil 12th
8 Erskine H. Childers 2 July 1969 14 March 1973 Fianna Fáil 13th
9 Brendan Corish[b] 14 March 1973 5 July 1977 Labour Party 13th
10 Charles Haughey[b] 5 July 1977 11 December 1979 Fianna Fáil 15th
11 Michael Woods (1st time)[b] 12 December 1979 30 June 1981 Fianna Fáil 16th
12 Eileen Desmond[b] 30 June 1981 9 March 1982 Labour Party 17th
Michael Woods (2nd time)[b] 9 March 1982 14 December 1982 Fianna Fáil 18th
13 Barry Desmond[b] 14 December 1982 20 January 1987 Labour Party 19th
14 John Boland[c] 20 January 1987 10 March 1987 Fine Gael 19th
15 Rory O'Hanlon 10 March 1987 14 November 1991 Fianna Fáil 20th · 21st
16 Mary O'Rourke 14 November 1991 11 February 1992 Fianna Fáil 21st
17 John O'Connell 11 February 1992 12 January 1993 Fianna Fáil 22nd
18 Brendan Howlin 12 January 1993 17 November 1994 Labour Party 23rd
Michael Woods (3rd time)[b] 17 November 1994 15 December 1994 Fianna Fáil 23rd
19 Michael Noonan 15 December 1994 26 June 1997 Fine Gael 24th
20 Brian Cowen 26 June 1997 12 July 1997 Fianna Fáil 25th

Minister for Health and Children 1997–2011[edit]

No. Name Term of office Party Government(s)
Brian Cowen 12 July 1997 27 January 2000 Fianna Fáil 25th
21 Micheál Martin 27 January 2000 29 September 2004 Fianna Fáil 25th · 26th
22 Mary Harney 29 September 2004 19 January 2011 PD / Ind[d] 26th · 27th · 28th
23 Mary Coughlan[e] 20 January 2011 9 March 2011 Fianna Fáil 28th
24 James Reilly 9 March 2011 4 June 2011 Fine Gael 29th

Minister for Health 2011–present[edit]

No. Name Term of office Party Government(s)
James Reilly 4 June 2011 11 July 2014 Fine Gael 29th
25 Leo Varadkar 11 July 2014 6 May 2016 Fine Gael 29th
26 Simon Harris 6 May 2016 27 June 2020 Fine Gael 30th · 31st
27 Stephen Donnelly 27 June 2020 Incumbent Fianna Fáil 32nd
  1. ^ Before 1937: EC – Executive Council.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Also Minister for Social Welfare.
  3. ^ Also Minister for the Environment.
  4. ^ Harney was an Independent member of the government from the disbandment of the Progressive Democrats on 20 November 2009.
  5. ^ Also Minister for Education and Skills.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "List of Ministers and Ministers of State", Government of Ireland, retrieved 2 July 2020
  2. ^ "Minister of State Appointments". MerrionStreet.ie. 1 July 2020. Retrieved 2 July 2020.
  3. ^ Fergal Bowers (1 January 2003). "Heath – review of the year". IrishHealth.com. Retrieved 15 May 2008.

External links[edit]