By Anthony Sheridan
On 12 July last year, I submitted a formal complaint to the Standards in Public Office Commission [SIPO] against Robert Watt, the Secretary General of the Department of Health. Watt is the highest paid civil servant in the country and by far the most arrogant.
Watt and the former Chief Medical Officer [CMO] Dr. Tony Holohan hatched, what was, effectively, a secret plan that would have seen Holohan ‘retire’ from his position as CMO to take up a position in Trinity College while, incredibly, retaining his full salary and all pension rights for the rest of his working career.
The estimated cost to the taxpayer would have been 2 million a year and 20 million if Dr. Holohan remained in his post for ten years.
Neither Watt nor Holohan had the authority to create this position. No civil servant, no matter how senior has the authority to spend such sums of taxpayer’s money without the knowledge and permission of his minister.
In a report compiled by Watt, he blamed everybody for the scandal but himself – a clear example of his ruthless arrogance.
My complaint against Watt is based on his misbehaviour and failures as a senior civil servant.
After a number of enquiries to SIPO on the progress of my complaint I was informed that no action would be taken until after the publication of an independent report ordered by the Minister for Health into the scandal.
That report, published yesterday, was damning of Watt’s behaviour and supports, in large part, the points made in my complaint.
I now look forward to the Standards in Public Office Commission making a quick decision on the charges against Mr. Watt contained in my complaint.