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15/07/2022
Economy and Finance

Research Paper 24_Exploring Place-based Opportunities for Policy and Practice in Transition
Delivering effective regional development in a context of decarbonising the economy is not just challenging economically but raises the issue of social justice and equity. Ensuring a ‘just transition’ that appropriately addresses the needs and harnesses the potential of particular communities is therefore critical. This research paper explores placebased approaches to just transition in Ireland and the potential for adopting co-creation methodologies to identifying and implementing pathways to change. It draws on three case studies to understand perspectives on, and pathways towards, more climate-resilient and equitable futures in three areas outside the major metropolitan areas.

    Exploring Place-based Opportunities for Policy and Practice in Transition

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30/06/2022
Others

The Covid-19 Pandemic: Lessons for Irish Public Policy (158)
This research from the National Economic and Social Council reviews international experience of emergencies and the Covid-19 pandemic, looks at examples of Ireland’s response to the pandemic, and identifies five key lessons for Irish public policy. These are: Vulnerability is complex and context-specific, meaning pinpointing and managing vulnerability are crucial. Stakeholder networks and experts shape outcomes, so the policy system must stay deeply engaged. Real-time evidence, when used alongside longer-run data, has the power to transform policymaking, suggesting that the analytical activity which aided in the pandemic response can be applied in other areas of public policy. Adapting the policy world to the data world requires significant effort, meaning that governance, privacy, access, confidentially and data-sharing issues must be prioritised and addressed with urgency. Communication and trust are critical for responding to crises. Policymakers must improve their capacity to reach out, to listen actively, and to communicate clearly. They must also work to ensure their decisions deliver, and are seen to deliver, for society.

    The Covid-19 Pandemic: Lessons for Irish Public Policy

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01/06/2022
Economy and Finance, Local Policies

Secretariat Paper 30_Towards Transformative Outcomes: Examples of how Well-being Frameworks have been Embedded into Policy Making
This research looks at how national well-being frameworks have been incorporated into budgeting a nd policy-making processes in New Zealand, Scotland and Wales. It also looks at the approach taken under Ireland’s Better Outcomes: Brighter Futures – The National Policy Framework for Children and Young People, 2014-2020 (BOBF). BOBF is a sectoral policy framework, but has similar elements to those found in national well-being frameworks. Information was gathered through literature reviews and interviews with those working to design, implement and/or monitor the various well-being frameworks.

    Towards Transformative Outcomes

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15/04/2022
Others

Shared Island: Shared Opportunity NESC Comprehensive Report (157)
As part of the Government’s Shared Island Initiative the Department of the Taoiseach requested NESC to undertake research and to produce a comprehensive report on the Shared Island, to inform the development of the Shared Island Initiative as a whole of Government priority. This report is the culmination of research on the Shared Island that NESC undertook over 2021. This involved more than 100 meetings with practitioners, policy makers, academics and experts from a diverse range of institutions across the whole island, detailed work in the North West including four focus groups, a public consultation on climate and biodiversity, plus a number of NESC Shared Island publications on the economy, regional development, good jobs, climate and biodiversity, poverty and mental health. The report makes specific recommendations across five key areas in relation to the economy and investment, social policy, climate and biodiversity, wellbeing measurement and data co-ordination.

    Shared Island: Shared Opportunity NESC Comprehensive Report

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14/01/2022
Social Policies

Secretariat Paper 29_Shared Island: Projects, Progress & Policy, A Shared Island Perspective on Mental Health
As part of the Shared Island research project this report from the NESC Secretariat looks at current and possible future co-operation around mental health on the island of Ireland, North and South. The issue of mental health has become increasingly visible in the public arena over the last two years. The COVID crisis has brought with it a range of different issues that have had the potential to negatively impact on mental health. As many of the concerns and policies around mental health are shared by the two jurisdictions, it is a good time to look at how increased dialogue and co-operation on some aspects of mental health could bring benefits to the wider island population. There are a number of examples of successful and current co-operation in the mental health sector. Some of it is led by the community and voluntary sector, often supported by European funding. In the border counties, there is also evidence of substantial informal interaction between services in the two jurisdictions. This report finds that there is an appetite for more formal settings for co-operation and that there could be substantial value in building on current initiatives as well as looking at new areas of co-operation.

    Shared Island: Projects, Progress & Policy, A Shared Island Perspective on Mental Health

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15/12/2021
Economy and Finance, Social Policies

Secretariat Paper 28_Shared Island: Projects, Progress & Policy, Sharing Knowledge and Lessons in Combatting Poverty
As part of the Shared Island research project this report from the NESC Secretariat shares knowledge and lessons in combatting poverty in the island of Ireland. The report finds that poverty is a concern for both parts of the island and both jurisdictions have an anti-poverty strategy or is in the process of preparing one, as well as policies and programmes to support disadvantaged groups and areas. A key learning from these programmes and initiatives is the importance of state, community, and voluntary bodies working together to address disadvantage, whilst listening to and drawing on the knowledge and experience of people living in these local areas. While cooperation across the island on addressing poverty is limited there are some initiatives that support this. The future challenge is to build on these initiatives by sharing knowledge and lessons to work towards the reduction of poverty on both parts of the island.

    Shared Island: Projects, Progress & Policy, Sharing Knowledge and Lessons in Combatting Poverty

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30/11/2021
International Policies

Research Paper 23_Perspectives on Micro-Generation: Public Participation in the Low-Carbon Transition in Ireland (MISTRAL)
Mistral is an innovative training and support network for 15 doctoral researchers in relation to renewable energy and social acceptance operating in 6 countries: United Kingdom, Portugal, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, and Ireland. It is a three-year project funded from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under a Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant. NESC is a partner in the MISTRAL programme. The network and overall project is led by Council Member, Prof Geraint Ellis, Queens University Belfast. NESC has provided a secondment opportunity for two doctoral researchers with posts in QUB. Senni Määttä was seconded to NESC as a visiting researcher from September to October 2021. The paper produced during the secondment explores stakeholder views on micro-generation as expressed through the Irish Micro-Generation Scheme consultation process. It focuses on prosumers and microgeneration as part of the active participation of individuals in the low-carbon transition. The paper’s findings can help to inform the development of microgeneration policy with the final scheme, but it also provides insights into the value and challenges of public policy consultation.

    Perspectives on Micro-Generation: Public Participation in the Low-Carbon Transition in Ireland (MISTRAL)

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01/11/2021
Local Policies, Social Policies

Secretariat Paper 27_Shared Island: Projects, Progress & Policy, A Regional Perspective on Ireland, North and South
This report from the NESC Secretariat examines the economic features of regions across the island of Ireland, north and south. It is one of series of reports being published by NESC this year on the Shared Island. The report finds that across a range of variables for Ireland, there is a broad division between north and west of the country and the south and east. For the most part the more prosperous areas are south of a line between Galway and Dundalk. Within Northern Ireland, there is something of an east–west division: the more affluent areas are clustered around Belfast. The report also considers regional development issues. It points to the opportunity for deeper collaboration to promote balanced regional development on the island including the border area.

    Shared Island: Projects, Progress & Policy, A Regional Perspective on Ireland, North and South

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20/10/2021
Climate Change

Collaboration on Climate and Biodiversity: Shared Island as a Catalyst for Renewed Ambition & Action (156)
Forming part of a wider body of work on a Shared Island for the Department of the Taoiseach, this report by the National Economic and Social Council examines the particular challenges and opportunities of climate change and biodiversity loss across the island. It draws on an extensive consultation process with stakeholders, north and south. In this report, the Council has identified that there is a shared understanding of the challenges and opportunities; and of the need to accept that strengthening cooperation takes time and requires public engagement and participation. This report shows that there is an ambition to collaborate across the island to deal with climate and biodiversity in an integrated, positive and imaginative manner. It also points to the deep, shared experience that provides a solid foundation to deliver on this ambition.

    Collaboration on Climate and Biodiversity: Shared Island as a Catalyst for Renewed Ambition & Action

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30/07/2021
Social Policies

Secretariat Paper 26_Building a New Relationship between Voluntary Organisations and the State in the Health and Social Care Sectors
The Dialogue Forum with Voluntary Organisations was established by the Minister of Health in 2019 with the aim of building a stronger working relationship between the State and the voluntary healthcare sector for the benefit of patients and service users and to facilitate regular dialogue with the voluntary sector on future policy and strategic developments. In June 2020, the Dialogue Forum commissioned the NESC Secretariat to explore the healthcare system’s response to Covid-19 crisis. Drawing on a series of qualitative interviews with senior policy makers and practitioners this study highlights how the healthcare system responded to the challenge of protecting citizens, in particular the most vulnerable, in a flexible, innovative and collaborative manner. The paper outlines many examples of organisational change and innovation in the way services were delivered and argues that they represent an unprecedented level of collaboration and cooperation between the state and voluntary organisations. The paper highlights that in the midst of a national emergency public and voluntary organisations forged an experimental and dynamic partnership, based on intensive engagement, open information exchange, and collective problem solving and deliberation linked to tangible action.

15/07/2021
Others

Ireland’s Well-Being Framework: Consultation Report (155)
Following the Programme for Government’s commitment to developing a well-being framework for Ireland, NESC was asked to consult with stakeholders and experts to inform the development of a well-being framework. The Department of the Taoiseach is leading this work, which is jointly sponsored by the Departments of Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform and supported by a wider Inter-departmental Working Group. The National Economic and Social Council provided a vehicle for consultation with stakeholders, both through members of the Council representing different social partnership pillars, as well as external experts and interested parties and this report is based on these engagements and consultation and was an important input to the Government’s First Report on a Well-being Framework for Ireland.

    Ireland’s Well-Being Framework: Consultation Report

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15/06/2021
Others

Digital Inclusion in Ireland: Connectivity, Devices & Skills (154)
Economic, social and cultural systems worldwide are becoming increasingly digitalised as we move into the 21st century. This has opened up many new opportunities and challenges in how we live, work and relate to one another—changes which have been accelerated by the Covid-19 lockdowns. More people and businesses need to be proficient in accessing the digital world in order to adapt to and benefit from this transition. However, a number of groups are poorly engaged with ICT, in particular those who are older, have lower levels of education, lower incomes, and live in rural areas. In addition, the extent to which all of those online are fully engaging with the digital world varies. This is a cost for our economy, society, government and individuals. The World Economic Forum identifies the digital divide as a critical threat. This report therefore focuses on how Irish policy can improve digital inclusion.

    Digital Inclusion in Ireland: Connectivity, Devices & Skills

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12/05/2021
Local Policies, Economy and Finance

Secretariat Paper 25_Shared Island: Projects, Progress & Policy The Island Economy
This paper is one of a series of papers being published by NESC this year on the shared island. It traces the evolution of the two economies, north and south, on the island of Ireland. It describes similarities and differences in the structure of the economies and the connections between them. Despite differences in the economies on the island, the expansion of cross-border trade and the increased interconnections of business on the island mean that to some extent an island economy has been developed

    Shared Island: Projects, Progress & Policy The Island Economy

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13/04/2021
Local Policies

Secretariat Paper 24_Housing and Urban Development Policy Priorities
In June 2020, the National Economic and Social Council (NESC) Secretariat was asked by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) to undertake research to address the following question: What are the policy options available to facilitate the delivery of public and private housing in line with the compact growth targets set out in the National Planning Framework (NPF) and related policies in a new Programme for Government?

    Housing and Urban Development Policy Priorities

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12/04/2021
Industrial Changes

Research Paper 22_Long-term Resilient and Sustainable Cities A Scoping Paper
City resilience is seen as a city capability to recover from large events, such as natural hazards, and to positively manage ongoing city “stressors,” such as the climate crisis, demographic change, social inequality, unemployment, and poverty. While the term ‘resilient city’ has its origins in dealing with natural disasters, its use now extends to a number of independent but interacting resilient domains, such as social resilience; economic resilience; community capital; institutional resilience; infrastructure resilience; and environmental resilience.

    Long-term Resilient and Sustainable Cities A Scoping Paper

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25/03/2021
Economy and Finance, Social Policies

Research Paper 21_Gender and Covid-19 in Ireland
This paper outlines data on a number of gender impacts of Covid-19 in Ireland in 2020. It describes the outcomes from the pandemic for women and men in the areas of employment, domestic work and childcare, finance and state income supports, well-being, health and decision-making. It also outlines ways in which some groups experience overlapping negative impacts.

    Gender and Covid-19 in Ireland

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24/03/2021
Economy and Finance

Research Paper 19_Economic Resilience in Sustainable Communities: Innovative Approaches in Public Spending to Maximise Local Benefits
The Government of Ireland, as with all governments across Europe, faces a triple challenge of recovery from the economic crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the urgent need for action on climate change and ensuring a just transition to a zero-carbon society so that opportunities and burdens are equally distributed. This paper asks whether it is possible to align the recovery from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the necessity to take climate action with innovative local wealth building approaches, to catalyse enhanced local sustainable development, in particular in rural communities. The public health crisis has exposed shortcomings in local economies across Ireland, with rural communities impacted hardest by the economic impacts of the crisis , while the importance of active citizenship to the national response has underscored importance of resilient communities.

    Economic Resilience in Sustainable Communities: Innovative Approaches in Public Spending to Maximise Local Benefits

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16/03/2021
Labour

Addressing Employment Vulnerability as Part of a Just Transition in Ireland (149)
How do you manage a transition to a fundamentally new economic future? This question had been the focus of work at the National Economic and Social Council in the months and weeks before Covid-19. The Council’s work focused on how to manage the transition associated with climate change and digital automation. These challenges will endure beyond the current crisis and the Council have identified recommendations which will help Ireland address these and embrace the significant the opportunities. These are contained in this report.

    Addressing Employment Vulnerability as Part of a Just Transition in Ireland (149)

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15/03/2021
Economy and Finance, Local Policies

Secretariat Paper 23_Shared Island: Projects, Progress & Policy The Good-Jobs Agenda
ood jobs are needed on all parts of the island of Ireland. ‘Poor’ jobs, low pay and precarious forms of employment are not new and digitisation, climate transition and globalisation have the potential to create more. The Covid-19 highlighted the high societal value placed on jobs in sectors such as healthcare, social care, public transport, retail, hospitality, and other essential services. However, for many individuals these jobs are low-income and higher risk. ‘Good jobs’ policy aims to tackle these sources of deepening labour market inequality. A new NESC Secretariat Paper explains that a ‘good jobs’ agenda is a drive to improve the quality and productivity of work and the experiences, incomes and standard of living of workers. The agenda is focused on measures and actions to improve job quality within the labour market. The paper draws on interviews with stakeholders in Ireland and Northern Ireland and finds strong support for an all-island approach to ‘good-jobs’.

    Shared Island: Projects, Progress & Policy The Good-Jobs Agenda

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02/03/2021
Local Policies

Research Paper 20_Challenges and Opportunities for Rural Ireland and the Agricultural Sector
There is a prevailing narrative around the decline of rural areas in Ireland. This is not unique to the Irish context with international studies also looking at concerns around rural vitality. This narrative is associated predominately with a decline in the agricultural sector, urbanisation and the decline of opportunities in rural areas. This paper aims to quantitatively establish how rural areas have changed and qualitatively identify opportunities based on a group of an expert group.

    Challenges and Opportunities for Rural Ireland and the Agricultural Sector

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