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

Sign-up to hear when the next Policy Brief is published.

Organisational Ambidexterity

Professor Breda Sweeney

Ambidexterity in general refers to the ability to do two things equally well (e.g. use of right and left hands) and organisational ambidexterity refers to the simulaneous ability to exploit existing capabilities and explore new capabilities. This is seen as paving the way for introducing both radical and incremental innovations in the marketplace. For many… | Read on »

Translating flood risk assessment into local urban action

Tom McDermott, SEMRU

Urban areas are already suffering substantial losses in both economic and human terms from climate-related disasters, including flooding. These losses are anticipated to grow substantially in the coming decades, while local planning decisions today will have a large bearing on future costs, for example by locking-in future exposure to flood risk (Kocornik-Mina et al. 2015)…. | Read on »

A Spatial Value Transfer Approach to Estimating the Benefits of the MSFD in the North East Atlantic

The environmental pillar of the EU’s Integrated Maritime Policy that supports sustainable ‘blue growth’ is manifested through the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). The MSFD aims to achieve and maintain good environmental status of all EU marine waters by 2020. A healthy and productive marine environment provides a variety of ecosystem goods and services… | Read on »

Valuing Ireland’s Blue Ecosystem Services (VIBES)

The European Union (EU) aims to protect, value and, where necessary, to restore nature both for biodiversity’s intrinsic value and for its contribution to human wellbeing and economic prosperity through ecosystem services. The main policy drivers in achieving these goals are the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) and 2020 Biodiversity Strategy. Both policies recognise that… | Read on »

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 »