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Cathal FitzGerald

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Cathal FitzGerald joined NESC in 2018 and was appointed Senior Analyst in 2021. He specialises in data and behavioural analysis, economic policy research, leadership, and decision-making. 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, employing behavioural insights and traditional concepts of institutions, interests, and ideology to help explain good/bad policy decisions.

Cathal is currently leading the Council’s research into the public policy lessons from Ireland’s experience of the Covid-19 pandemic. His work involves understanding vulnerability and risk in emergencies and approaches to crisis management, evaluating Ireland’s experience of the pandemic for strategic lessons about public governance, and capturing how these lessons can shape the recovery and future policy (e.g. in the areas of sustainability, housing etc.).

From November 2020 to February 2022, Cathal was on special assignment to the Department of the Taoiseach, working on Covid data/behavioural analytics to assist the Government in their response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The role involved undertaking analysis and reviewing national and international data and research to ensure the Government had the best possible evidence to inform policy decisions.

Prior to that assignment, Cathal managed NESC’s research of housing and land-use policy. Cathal also led the Council’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 includes an examination of the strategic framing of climate action, an assessment of 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, and the impact of Brexit on firms across sectors.

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


Selected Work