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Cathal FitzGerald

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Dr. Cathal FitzGerald joined NESC in 2018 and was appointed Senior Economist in 2021. He specialises in economic policy and decision-making analysis. His work with NESC focusses on Ireland’s economic policy, our governance structures and processes, and how to improve Ireland’s decision-making, policy adoption and implementation. Specifically, his work takes a behavioural political science approach, applying behavioural insights (‘irrationality’) to traditional concepts of institutions, interests, and ideology to help explain good/bad policy decisions.

Currently, Cathal is researching Ireland’s response to and recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic with the Department of the Taoiseach.

Most recently he managed our research of housing and land-use policy. Prior to that Cathal led NESC’s research into the impact of economic transition on vulnerable workers and sectors, specifically Ireland’s low carbon and digital transition. His previous work at NESC has had an emphasis on climate change and the governance of Ireland’s low carbon transition, along with land-use and urban development. This includes an examination of the strategic framing of climate change and climate action, and examining the opportunity to apply the concept of transport-orientated development in Ireland. Examples of his research output can be found below.

Cathal has extensive experience and knowledge of public/civil service organisations and their decision-making structures having worked in the Oireachtas, in the Departments of the Taoiseach, Transport, Enterprise, and in the former State advisory agency Forfás. He has also served as a Special Economic Advisor to the Government. He has lectured in politics at the Institute of Public Administration. From 2011, Cathal’s work was central to the development and implementation of the Irish Government’s policy response to the unemployment crisis following the economic crash, the annual Action Plan for Jobs series. Cathal has also worked on the enterprise aspects of economic infrastructure policy, approaches to regional development, the impact of Brexit on firms across sectors, and Ireland’s policy on data centres.

He holds an BA in Economics and Social Studies from Trinity College Dublin, and a PhD from Dublin City University. He is a recipient of the Basil Chubb Prize, awarded annually for the best PhD thesis produced in an Irish university in any field of politics.

Tel: 00 353 1 8146394

Email: cathal.fitzgerald@nesc.ie

Selected Work