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Governing activation in Ireland: comparing Ireland's mixed-economy of public employment services


Public employment services (PES) are undergoing major reform in Ireland. Mandatory job search and other forms of conditionality are being extended to more and more people while the delivery of programmes targeted at the long-term unemployed are being privatised. These reforms have been actively promoted by the OECD and form a core plank of the Irish government’s strategy to achieve its employment targets under the Europe 2020 Strategy. Yet their impact on the labour market reintegration of long-term unemployed remains unclear due to the total absence of independent research on the contracting-out of activation services in Ireland. I am an experienced Irish researcher currently based within a high-profile research team at the University of Melbourne that has been studying the contracting-out of PES for nearly 20 years. This fellowship will enable me to return to Ireland to undertake the first sustained comparative study of PES contracting in Ireland, under the supervision of Dr Mary Murphy, one of the leading contributors to national debate on welfare reform in Ireland. It will be undertaken at Maynooth University (National University of Ireland) and include cross-sectoral secondments – with Department for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, the Irish Local Development Organisation (which represents Local Employment Services), and the Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed - designed to maximise the project’s impact through rapidly integrating me into policy networks, advocacy and practitioner communities. In providing the first comparative study of contracted-out PES provision in Ireland, and the impact of marketization on the labour market re-integration of disadvantaged social groups, the fellowship will build understanding of how recent welfare reforms have contributed to the attainment of key National Strategic Policy objectives and wider European and UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Field of science

  • /social sciences/economics and business/business and management/commerce
  • /social sciences/economics and business/business and management/employment
  • /social sciences/other social sciences/social sciences interdisciplinary/sustainable development
  • /social sciences/sociology/governance/public services

Call for proposal

See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

MSCA-IF-EF-RI - RI – Reintegration panel


Co Kildare
W23 Maynooth
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 196 590,72