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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Prenuptial Agreements in Ireland

Prenuptial agreements have traditionally been considered legally void in Ireland. However, in 2007 a ministerial Study Group recommended limited legislative recognition of prenuptial agreements, in light of social and economic changes. The Study Group’s recommendations have never been implemented, and the legal recognition of prenuptial agreements remains controversial, largely due to fairness concerns, particularly in… | Read on »

The Farmer-Farm Relationship Impact on Generational Renewal

A focus on generational renewal has been highlighted by the European Commission as a priority for future Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform. A major challenge therefore presents itself in the area of intergenerational family farm transfer, to help achieve this objective. There are numerous, intricate emotional facets affecting the older generation’s farm transfer decision-making process… | Read on »

Optimum Territorial Reforms and Local Authority Amalgamations: Does Size Matter?

Gerard Turley

The economic rationale frequently cited for local government territorial reforms and municipal amalgamations is the economies of scale argument. It is argued that in the subnational public sector sphere larger councils may exhibit scale economies, and provide services at a lower per unit cost than smaller councils. As against the ‘small is beautiful’ argument that… | Read on »

The Ultimate Immune Boost: Healthcare Worker Flu Vaccination

In line with the Immunisation Guidelines for Ireland from the National Immunisation Advisory Committee, the HSE recommend that all healthcare workers (HCW) in health services receive the seasonal influenza vaccination each year. Compared to adults working in non-healthcare settings, HCWs are at significantly higher risk of influenza. Achieving a high uptake of influenza vaccination among… | Read on »

Unearthing Stumbling Blocks to Farm Succession & Land Mobility

Intergenerational family farm transfer is a complex and highly topical issue. Joint farming ventures (JFVs), including arrangements such as farm partnerships, share farming and contract rearing, have been advocated within Irish farm transfer policy discourses as succession models that can enable young farmers to become formal partners in the family farm business. They also allow… | Read on »

De-camouflaging chameleons: Requiring transparency and privacy protection in the IoT

Information and communications technology and the development of the so-called ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) provide new and valuable affordances to businesses and consumers. The use of sensors, software, and interconnectivity (marketed as ‘smartness’) provide digital devices with useful adaptive capabilities. The rapid development of so-called ‘smart devices’ means that many everyday items are now impenetrable… | Read on »

Irish Ocean Conversations: Co-Creating an Ocean-Literate Society

The Irish Government’s Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth Strategy sets out a roadmap for integrated actions across policy, governance and business to enable our marine potential to be realised (Inter–Departmental Marine Coordination Group, 2012). Specifically, Action 29 aims to embed knowledge and consider options for the inclusion of marine studies in the secondary school curriculum. Research from… | Read on »

Mobilising a European Sea Change in teaching 12–19 year olds about the ocean

The Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation (2013) reinforces a need for Ocean Literacy across Europe, the United States, and Canada. In Galway in 2013, top marine scientists concluded that together we have the capacity to understand and predict major Atlantic and Arctic processes, as well as the changes and risks they carry in relation… | Read on »

What impacts employee pension decision-making?

In this research, concepts from bounded rationality theory were applied to develop an integrated model to explain how pension plan structure and pension communication policies impact on employee pension participation within organisations. Bounded rationality theory provided a useful frame of reference to understand the challenges that employees face in making complicated pension decisions, made over… | Read on »