Stephen Donnelly

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Minister for Health, Ireland

Stephen Donnelly was appointed Minister for Health in June 2020.

  • He is overseeing the highest budget ever for health and social care services - €21 bn for 2021.
  • Management of the COVID-19 pandemic has been significant for Minister Donnelly, but the commitment to reform and investment continues in parallel.
  • He has overseen the funding for thousands of additional doctors, nurses, midwives and therapists; the addition of almost 1,000 extra acute beds in our hospitals; as well as delivery of dozens of additional and permanent critical care beds.
  • The COVID-19 vaccine programme has been the envy of Europe and by late September 2021 in excess of 90% of those aged 16+ had full vaccination.
  • During the 2020/2021 winter period the lowest number of people on trollies on record was recorded with the ‘Winter Plan’ that saw an investment of €600 m. The 60% reduction in trolley numbers was achieved while Emergency Department attendances fell by just 12%.
  • All clinical strategies have been fully funded for the first time.
  • Minister Donnelly has overseen a new landmark deal for consultant-led public health, after several attempts going back over 20 years.
  • He has given additional funding to Hospices, secured extended medical cards for terminally ill and has started a revolution in women’s health – including a specialist centre for endometriosis, fertility hubs and lactation consultants, and most recently announced the establishment of a dedicated specialist menopause clinic.

Stephen became an Independent TD for Wicklow and East Carlow constituency in the 2011 General Election after a six week campaign and has been re-elected in each election since.

The following year Stephen was nominated by The Irish Times as Politician of the Year for his work on the bank bailout.

In 2015 he co-founded the Social Democrats but later returned to being an Independent.

He joined Fianna Fáil on their front bench as the party’s Brexit spokesman in 2017.

In March 2018 he was appointed as the party’s health spokesman.

During his time in office as an Opposition TD he served on the Finance Committee, Health Committee, Budgetary Oversight Committee and Covid Committee. He was also a member of the Irish Parliamentary Delegation to the Organisation for Security and Co-Operation in Europe.


Updated: December 2021