Policy Briefs

The Whitaker Policy Briefs are short and informative analyses on some of Ireland’s current public policy issues that bring background and recommendations to policy-makers, journalists and the general public. The policy briefs cover a wide range of topics with emphasis on the following three research themes:

  • Business, Innovation & Economic Development
  • Public-Sector Innovation and Reform
  • Sustainable and Inclusive Societies

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Labour immigration and demographic transformation: Lithuanian and Polish nationals in rural Ireland

International migration in search of employment is long-established, as Ireland’s emigration record illustrates. Immigrants usually move initially to large cities where employment opportunities are greatest. Recruitment to specific types of rural employment is also well-established internationally. Additional research on the spatial distribution of immigrant labour at a national scale is recommended to gain a better… | Read on »

Disparities in Psychological Distress Among Higher Education Students in Ireland

Psychological distress among higher education students is a growing concern, both in Ireland and internationally. As well as the personal consequences for students themselves, which can include diminished wellbeing, unhappiness, social isolation, and decreased enjoyment of life, the high prevalence of mental ill-health amongst students also has implications for the higher education sector. Poor mental… | Read on »

Creating an age-friendly environment in farming through ‘Farmer’s Yards’, a social organisation for older farmers

Globally, policy aimed at stimulating generational renewal in agriculture tends to pay limited regard to the mental health and wellbeing of the older farmer, overlooking their identity and social circles, which are intertwined with their occupation and farm. This study, in probing this contentious issue, casts its net across what could be deemed as disparate… | Read on »

Examining the spatial distribution of marine employment

In order to examine the spatial distribution of marine industry employment, the study makes use of an existing spatial microsimulation model for the general Irish population; the SMILE (Spatial Microsimulation Model of the Irish Local Economy) model. SMILE is a static spatial microsimulation model designed to simulate regional welfare, income, and labour distributions in Ireland… | Read on »

The role of economic valuation and appraisal in marine policy making

There is now high-level recognition that the UN Sustainable Development Goals can only be achieved if the decline of ecosystems and biodiversity can be halted and reversed. This will require effective control of ongoing pressures, meaningful protection and enforcement of protected areas, and significant investments in ecosystem restoration. This research explores the possible use of… | Read on »

Public preferences for the development of offshore wind farms incorporating electricity trade

Recent advances in offshore wind technologies implies that bottom fixed and floating turbines can be deployed further from shore at lowering cost and several studies indicate that Ireland is particularly well placed to exploit this potential. However, factors which influence the acceptance of offshore renewables may differ to those of onshore projects, particularly if energy… | Read on »

Preferences for curtailable electricity contracts: Can they benefit consumers and the electricity system?

Growth in electricity demand together with the expansion of variable renewable energy will have significant implications for the future electricity system. One main concern is how the system can maintain balance between supply and demand to avoid blackouts from potential intermittent supply shortages. At present, this balance relies primarily upon traditional sources of flexibility on… | Read on »

Why older rural women in Ireland want to work: it’s not all about the money

Social gerontology extensively addresses financial reasons to work in later life, and pension inequalities. There is much less focus on the non-financial positive contributions that work provides for the older woman (Jahoda 1981), especially within a rural context. A qualitative study of twenty-five 45-65 year old women in Connemara, Ireland was undertaken from a lifecourse… | Read on »