The Minister for Health does not believe in engaging in the politics of personalised attacks, a spokesperson has said after former HSE chief Tony O'Brien described Simon Harris as a "frightened little boy".
In a wide-ranging interview with the Sunday Business Post, Mr O'Brien also says the minister is obsessed with media coverage and "runs scared of headlines."
Mr O'Brien stepped down from his position as HSE director general last May in the wake of the CervicalCheck crisis.
He said the HSE's initial response had been a "trainwreck" but that the controversy was misunderstood and misrepresented.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the minister said Mr O'Brien took the decision to step down from his post.
The minister believes that was the right decision, and he wishes him well.
The statement goes on to say that the CervicalCheck situation was a very difficult time for women in Ireland and they felt let down.
The women were and are the minister's priority, the spokesperson added.