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Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence



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This short article reflects on observations from the forthcoming volume Policy Analysis in Ireland, edited by Hogan & Murphy. The volume forms part of the International Library of Policy Analysis series, which covers more than twenty countries, published by Policy Press and edited by Michael Howlett and Iris Geva-May. While various themes emerge from the Irish volume, this article focuses on only one core question: whether and how the 2008 economic crisis contracted and expanded the capacity for policy analysis in Ireland. The troika of the International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank and the European Commission are associated with policy capacity innovation, but also with significant austerity. Both had a major and long-term impact on public services. While the article documents a range of successful post-bailout attempts to improve policy analysis capacity, it also points to often less conscious, but sometimes deliberate, decisions that diminished some forms of

policy analysis capacity. We find economic policymaking capacity enhanced while changes to resources and policy opportunity structures depleted both space and the capacity for social policy analysis. This was particularly so within the equality and social justice sectors. Given ongoing social risks, the Covid-19 pandemic and the climate crisis, Ireland needs to adjust for a future of permanent uncertainty, or perpetual crises, and should seek to rebalance investment in social policy capacity and to develop systems for integrated policy analysis


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