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NESC Hosts Major 50th Anniversary Conference on Policy for ‘A Thriving Ireland’


  • The National Economic and Social Council (NESC) is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a policy conference titled “A Thriving Ireland” on 23rd November in Dublin Castle.
  • The conference will feature top academic and policy experts discussing key issues facing Ireland today, with a focus on shaping the country’s future.
  • NESC’s Director, Dr. Larry O’Connell, highlighted the organization’s vision for Ireland as a resilient, sustainable, thriving net-zero economy, and the conference aims to foster collaboration across sectors to address Ireland’s evolving challenges through inclusive decision-making and actionable advice.


This year, the National Economic and Social Council (NESC) marks five decades of conducting research, engaging in dialogue, and providing advice to the Irish Government on the most pressing issues affecting the country. As part of its NESC@50 anniversary programme, NESC is hosting a major policy conference on the theme of “A Thriving Ireland” on November 23rd in Dublin Castle.

NESC will be bringing together some of the top academic minds and policy experts from at home and abroad for a series of lively debates on the Ireland of today, as well as lessons we can learn and opportunities we can seize  to shape Ireland’s collective future for the better.


Taoiseach Leo Varadkar T.D., who is providing a keynote address at the conference, recently said of the body:

“Since 1973, NESC has provided research, dialogue, and advice which has informed policy making in Ireland and as a result has shaped our country. From its early work on economic development, to its research on housing and urban development, to its latest research on the transition a net zero, the Council has given us the evidence-based, medium-term strategic view on the most important policy challenges”.


NESC Director Dr Larry O’Connell, commenting on the NESC@50 programme, said:

“The November conference in particular, will help realise a vision for Ireland. NESC has a vision for Ireland is to be a resilient, sustainable, thriving net zero economy, environment, and society, using innovation and collective preparedness to shape the future we want to achieve.

At our conference, we have speakers with both national and global expertise who will bring value and insight into what Ireland needs to thrive and succeed. This is a valuable opportunity for collaboration across all sectors of the Irish society to integrate plans and thinking across sectors rather than in isolation.”


Dr Cathal FitzGerald, Senior Analyst at NESC added that:

“The Council’s 50th anniversary is an opportunity to look back and, more importantly, to look ahead. NESC has been at the forefront of advice, discussion, and solutions for 50 years, and this is an important time to begin the planning for the next 50.

From our housing report in 1976, to our review of industrial policy in 1982, our strategies for development for the 1990s, to the Developmental Welfare State in 2005, to our latest research on economic transitions, NESC’s work has been impactful because it considers the economic, social, and environmental aspects of the country all equally important, as well as providing actionable advice.

However, Ireland is changing and faces a host of new and varied challenges, challenges that require agreed solutions, taking account of all stakeholders and enabling inclusive decisions. NESC is uniquely placed to facilitate this through its unique problem-solving approach and commitment to improving Irish society for the benefit of all.”


Dr O’Connell further stated that while NESC is proud of what it has achieved thus far, it is focused on the future. He added that:

“NESC’s ongoing work is important and informs integrated thinking that produces definitive advice and proposals that ultimately go to the Taoiseach, Government, and throughout the wider policy system. The challenges to a thriving Ireland are complex and inter-dependent, and the solutions require wide and inclusive dialogue among stakeholders to achieve buy in for the level of change required. NESC has provided the space for that dialogue for five decades, and our work continues to be solution-focussed, aimed at finding learnings and agreed viewpoints, and delivering concrete policy proposals”, he concluded.


For further information, contact:

Dr Cathal FitzGerald, Senior Analyst,