Irish governance in crisis

Edited by Niamh Hardiman

Irish governance in crisis


  • Hardcover

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-8223-8
  • Pages: 256
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £16.99
  • Published Date: December 2011
  • BIC Category: Politics, United States of America, USA, Politics & government, Constitution: government & the state, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Globalization, POLITICAL SCIENCE / American Government / General, Ireland, Society & social sciences / Constitution: government & the state


Ireland's international reputation changed rapidly from global success story to European problem-case. How did this happen? What are the implications for our view of good governance?

This book argues that there is a crisis in the way the Irish state is structured and in the manner in which it relates to the main organised interests in the society. Through a set of linked policy studies, it shows how sectional benefits can be prioritised where public interest considerations are weakly articulated and debated. Policy choices may entail unintended perverse consequences that, once embedded, can be difficult to alter. The book traces these weaknesses to the dominance of parties, the permeability of the political system to sectional interests, and the weakness of democratic accountability. A powerful concluding chapter sets out an agenda for future research on institutional design and political reform.

This book sets out a compelling argument that institutional design matters, especially in an increasingly globalised and interdependent world.


"Given the Irish experience of recent years, the chapters on regulatory governance (Westrup) and the governance of the economy (Dellepiane and Hardiman) draw the reader's immediate attention."

"... the volume provides the reader with a broad and deep understanding of the current state of policy-making in Ireland, and its historical development."

"... this volume represents an important addition to our existing knowledge of Irish politics and policy-making, and serves to illustrate the valuable contribution of social science research."

"This book offers a timely, insightful and important contribution to this agenda by exploring a number of political issues thematically through a historical institutionalist approach than analyses how state power is exercised in Irish governance."

"...Hardiman presents a persuasive argument..."

"The authors sensibly caution on the effectiveness of reform initiatives if they merely tackle the symptoms of the crisis rather than its causes"

The book includes very useful introduction and conclusion chapters by the editor and nine other chapters from highly respected authors in a diverse variety of disciplines and policy areas. This makes for a robust and meaningful publication and a significant contribution to the debate about the urgent need to reform Irish governance.


1. Introduction: profiling Irish governance - Niamh Hardiman
2. Governance and accountability: the limits of new institutional remedies - Muiris MacCarthaigh
3. Adaptive governance: the art of party politics - Seán McGraw
4. Regulatory governance - Jonathan Westrup
5. Governing the Irish economy: a triple crisis - Sebastian Dellepiane and Niamh Hardiman
6. Creating two levels of healthcare - Claire Finn and Niamh Hardiman
7. The governance of the environment: handling the waste mountain - Brigid Laffan and Jane O'Mahony
8. Governing the city: institutional innovation and its consequences - Diane Payne and Peter Stafford
9. Exceptional or local? The governance of crime and security - Aogán Mulcahy
10. E-Governance: new technologies, local government and civic participation - Lee Komito
11. Conclusion: changing Irish governance - Niamh Hardiman


Niamh Hardiman teaches in the School of Politics and International Relations at University College Dublin.

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