Dr. Emer Holohan (née Feely), the wife of Ireland’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tony Holohan, passed away in the early hours of Friday, February 19.

Dr. Emer Holohan, a specialist in public health medicine and a medical graduate of UCD, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer, in 2012 and entered palliative care in July.

A February 19 notice on RIP.ie says that Dr. Holohan passed away peacefully at Our Lady’s Hospice in Harold’s Cross, Dublin in the company of her husband, Dr. Tony Holohan, and their children, Clodagh and Ronan.

She is survived by her father Frank, mother Ita, brother Ronan, and sister Orla and Niamh.

“Emer will be forever remembered by the Holohan and Feely families and her wide circle of dear friends,” the notice reads.

A funeral mass for Dr. Emer Holohan will be offered on Monday, February 22. It will be private to immediate family members but will be live-streamed. 

Emer’s request is for family flowers only. Donations, if desired, can be offered to Terenure College's 6th year Gofundme campaign in aid of The Irish Cancer Society and Our Lady’s Hospice.

The Irish Cancer Society offered its condolences on Dr. Emer Holohan's passing on Friday:

The Irish Cancer Society wishes to extend its sincere condolences to the family of Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan on the sad passing of his wife Emer. The Holohan family are in our thoughts at this sad time.

— Irish Cancer Society (@IrishCancerSoc) February 19, 2021

In a statement on Friday, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said: “Our thoughts and prayers are with Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan, and his children, Clodagh and Ronan, today following the sad passing of his wife Emer.

"Dr. Emer Holohan made a significant contribution to the health service, including her work on the Health Strategy when I was Minister for Health.

"Tony and his entire family have given so much to this country since the start of the pandemic.

"At this time, I would ask for as much space and privacy to be given to them as possible."

On July 2, 2020, Dr. Tony Holohan announced that he would be temporarily stepping away from his role as Ireland’s Chief Medical Officer in order to spend time with his family as Emer was admitted to palliative care.

From today, I will be taking time out from all of my work commitments to be with my family.

I would like to thank everyone for their support, understanding and respect for my family’s privacy and would wish that to continue.

Continue to stay vigilant and look after each other. pic.twitter.com/aNfi88c1Jo

— Dr Tony Holohan (@CMOIreland) July 2, 2020

He said in a statement: “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 to 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. Ronan Glynn was appointed as Acting Chief Medical Officer during Dr. Holohan’s absence.

Upon his departure, Dr. Holohan said: “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 been 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 looking after our family members and friends and those we care about most.”

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