Now showing 1 - 10 of 12
  • Publication
    Breaking with or building on the past? Reforming Irish public administration : 1958-2008
    (University College Dublin. Institute for British-Irish Studies, 2009) ;
    The Irish experience of public service reform provides a unique case study of institutional change and resilience, and offers new perspectives on public service reform in “Anglo-Saxon” administrative systems. The data used for this paper provides for new perspectives on how we understand a core aspect of the Irish state, and how we can conceptualise attempts to reform it. Using insights from organisational and neo-institutional theory, and drawing on data from the new Mapping the State database, this paper identifies drivers of administrative reform during the period 1958-2008 as well as key periods of institutional change that determined the trajectory of reform processes. The paper considers the effects of Irish economic reform in the late 1950s on the public administration, culminating in the work of the Public Service Organisation Review Group (1966-69). It also examines the emerging influence of market and new right ideas in the 1980s and the consequences of the application of new public management styles to Ireland. Particular attention is paid to the public service reform agenda following the Strategic Management Initiative (1994) and concludes with an analysis of the recent OECD review of the Irish public service.
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  • Publication
    The segmented state : adaptation and maladaptation in Ireland
    (University College Dublin. Geary Institute, 2008) ;
    This paper is an outcome of the research project Mapping the Irish State at UCD Geary Institute, funded by a Thematic Research Grant from the Irish Research Council for Humanities and Social Sciences (IRCHSS)
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    How governments retrench in crisis: the case of Ireland
    (University College Dublin. Geary Institute, 2013-09) ;
    The Irish experience of fiscal retrenchment under crisis conditions poses new questions of governance, the evolving answers to which are likely to involve importance changes in the state’s organizational profile and in its policy competences. The government is required to formulate and implement extremely tough choices, particularly since Ireland entered an EU-IMF loan programme in November 2010. Yet government does retain some policy discretion in the priorities it adopts in the composition of budget adjustment and in the distributive impact of cuts. This paper sets out to explore where the adjustments have been ma e through examination both of the composition of budgets and of the organizational configuration of state institutions, and it analyses how these outcomes can be accounted for. The paper draws upon a new official database setting out a detailed compositional analysis of Irish public spending between 2008 and 2012, and upon the Irish State Administration Database ( through which the organizational aspects of the state's policy capacity can be analysed.
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    The Troika’s variations on a trio: Why the loan programmes worked so differently in Greece, Ireland, and Portugal
    (University College Dublin. Geary Institute, 2017-10-17) ; ; ;
    Portugal and Ireland exited Troika loan programmes; Greece did not. The conventional narrative is that different outcomes are best explained by differences in national competences in implementing programme requirements. This paper argues that three factors distinguish the Greek experience from that of Ireland and Portugal: different economic, political, and institutional starting conditions; the ad hoc nature of the European institutions’ approach to crisis resolution; and the very different conditionalities built into each of the loan programmes as a result. Ireland and Portugal show some signs of recovery despite austerity measures, but Greece has been burdened beyond all capacity to recover convincingly.
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    Reforming the Westminster Model of Agency Governance: Britain and Ireland after the Crisis
    Conventional understandings of what the Westminster model implies anticipate reliance on a top-down, hierarchical approach to budgetary accountability, reinforced by a post-New Public Management emphasis on re-centralizing administrative capacity. This paper, based on a comparative analysis of the experiences of Britain and Ireland, argues that the Westminster model of bureaucratic control and oversight itself has been evolving, hastened in large part due to the global financial crisis. Governments have gained stronger controls over the structures and practices of agencies, but agencies are also key players in securing better governance outcomes. The implication is that the crisis has not seen a return to the archetypal command-and-control model, nor a wholly new implementation of negotiated European-type practices, but rather a new accountability balance between elements of the Westminster system itself that have not previously been well understood. 
      275Scopus© Citations 16
  • Publication
    Tangling with the Troika: ‘domestic ownership’ as political and administrative engagement in Greece, Ireland, and Portugal
    This paper analyses variation in the degrees of difficulty involved in negotiating and implementing loan programmes with the international lenders in Greece, Ireland, and Portugal. All three countries displayed high degrees of ultimate compliance with fiscal consolidation and structural adjustment conditionality, but the pace of implementation varied significantly. This paper argues that ‘domestic ownership’ of the loan programmes is a key determinant of outcomes, understood in terms of two dimensions: negotiating capacity and implementation capacity. Empirical evidence confirms that these concepts provide a strong explanatory framework for understanding variation in relations between national governments and the international lenders.
      301Scopus© Citations 10
  • Publication
    Conceptualising the role of national parliaments in the EU system of governance
    (University College Dublin. Geary Institute, 2005)
    The function of national parliaments in the European Union has attracted significant public debate in recent years, particularly in the context of the draft EU Constitutional Treaty. Much of this has concerned the role of such legislatures in respect of two issues – scrutiny of EU legislation, and providing a bridge to narrow a perceived gap between the central EU institutions and the citizens of the member-states. How best these tasks can be achieved remains subject to considerable discussion and has resulted in substantial innovation and institutional reconfiguration within the national parliaments of the Union. In this article, the various patterns and understandings emerging in the deliberation over the future of national parliaments in the EU system of governance are explored. It is concluded that the most progressive course of action for national parliaments in an enlarged EU is to seek methods of shaping the agenda rather than focusing on securing maximum recognition or veto power within the Union's wider infrastructure.
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    State Retrenchment and Administrative Reform in Ireland: Probing Comparative Policy Paradigms
    (Taylor and Francis, 2016) ;
    Policy choices in response to crisis may carry consequences both for distributive outcomes and for the future policy capacity of the state itself. This paper uses conceptual heuristics to interpret policy practice. It examines the underlying policy paradigms shaping Irish government decisions in the aftermath of the European financial and economic crisis. Drawing on comparative political economy literature, it distinguishes between two such paradigms – market-conforming and social equity – and applies them to three reform themes: reconfiguration of public budgets, the public service pay bargain, and the organizational profile of state competences. The findings entail lessons for understanding the malleability of policy choice, and how state policy choices in response to crisis are framed and implemented.
      593Scopus© Citations 13
  • Publication
    Governance and parliamentary accountability
    (University College Dublin. Geary Institute, 2007-11-12)