HSE press officer Michael Walsh has assured management there will be no tell-all memoir now that he has retired.
Formerly RTE’s Mid-West correspondent, Mr Walsh made the career switch to the then Mid-Western Health Board in the early 1990s.
At a presentation to mark his retirement, the Dublin native and Croom resident said that a HSE manager had anxiously inquired whether he would be writing and whether the skeletons buried in the health service would remain undisturbed.
“I said I could put his mind at rest in that I believe in what Harry Truman said years ago. His definition of an honest politician was one who, once bought, stays bought. I said I would not be disinterring the health service graveyard,” Mr Walsh joked.
Bernard Gloster, area manager for HSE non-acute services, recalled that growing up, Michael Walsh had been the face of RTE in Limerick. “His ability to capture a story and to tell it in a compelling way was something he never lost when he left the world of journalism,” Mr Gloster said.
Whether it was political controversy around hospitals, nurses strikes or the recent public health risks associated with flooding, Michael Walsh was somebody whose experience could always be relied upon in a crisis, Mr Gloster said.
“It is so important for us to have people like Michael to help us navigate that [media] world and engage with the public.”
Mr Gloster also paid tribute to Michael Walsh’s work with voluntary groups such as the Croom Housing Association, which has built 26 houses and apartments for those in need of social housing.
“He is the only property developer I know who is not in NAMA,” Mr Gloster joked.
The Irish Examiner’s Jimmy Woulfe recalled a number of Michael Walsh’s journalistic scoops over the years. He was the first man on the scene in Ennis on St Patrick’s Day 1984 when Ireland’s most feared man Dominic McGlinchey was captured following a shootout with gardai.
And he had once beaten the entire White House press corps to an exclusive interview with President George HW Bush when he and First Lady Barbara stopped off in Shannon. The Washington hacks had stayed on board Air Force One having been told there would be no press opportunity but Michael Walsh had “vaulted a security barrier” to get the interview that went out on RTE to the consternation of editors back in Washington.