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30th Mar 2023

Dr. Tony Holohan to release memoir reflecting on the Covid-19 pandemic

Rory Fleming

The memoir will focus heavily on Dr. Holohan’s role in Ireland’s pandemic response.

Former chief medical officer for the HSE, Dr. Tony Holohan, who led Ireland’s response for much of the Covid-19 pandemic, will publish a memoir later this year.

The book, entitled We Need to Talk, will be released on September 21st, and will be published by Ériu, the Dublin-based imprint of Bonnier Books UK.

Having served as the government’s chief medical officer for a period of over 12 years prior to the Covid 19 pandemic, Dr. Holohan only came to public prominence in March 2020 as the first wave of pandemic measures was introduced.

The memoir will mainly reflect on dealing with the most serious health pandemic in a century, in what was undoubtedly the biggest challenge of his 14-year-long stint in the role of CMO.

However, Dr. Holohan has not just dealt with grave challenges professionally but has also endured testing times in his personal life. His wife of 25 years, Emer, was being treated for cancer over the course of the pandemic and passed away in February of 2021.

Speaking on the announcement of the memoir, Bonnier publishing director Deirdre Nolan said “During this time his remarkable leadership skills came to the fore, and he became the public face of the pandemic, helping to steer the nation through the biggest public health crisis in Ireland’s modern history”.

Ms. Nolan added that it was a “privilege” to publish Dr. Holohan’s story, stating that “There are few people that I hold in higher regard. His empathy, bravery, and humanity shine through in this book – it is an essential read”.

Dr. Holohan himself was also on hand to discuss the process of writing the book and remarked how it has given him the time to reflect on the many difficult conversations he has had to have in his professional and personal life.

“The responsibility of leading Ireland’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic coincided with the most challenging time of my personal life. Writing this book has given me the time to reflect on this and the many difficult, sometimes painful, personal and professional conversations that I had to have”, said the former CMO.

Whilst many people criticised numerous aspects of Dr. Holohan’s pandemic response plan, literary agent Marianne Gunn-O’Connor believes that the former CMO rose to the challenge.

“Few of us are really tested in life in the way that Dr Tony Holohan was. We might ask ourselves how we would do if faced with a challenge on this scale”, the literary agent stated.

Gunn-O’Connor went on to exalt Dr. Holohan when saying that “He led the country’s response to Covid 19 with true leadership, bravery, compassion and integrity… During the darkest of times his humanity shone through. He was the Lighthouse in the Storm”.

The memoir will be published in Ireland and the UK on September 21st, and will be available in hardback, Audio, and eBook versions.