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Lessons from the Pandemic

The nature of the Covid-19 pandemic means it has impacted on almost every aspect of our lives: from how we interact and socialise, to how we work, to how we learn, to how we consume, and more. These impacts will reveal lessons for many facets of our world, including lessons for public policy. Those lessons are the focus of this project.

The Government’s recently published strategy Reframing the Challenge: Continuing Our Recovery and Reconnecting, states that it is important to understand Ireland’s response to the pandemic, to capture the learning’s and experience to assist future planning (2021: 7).

In March 2020, just as the pandemic began, the Council published Report No.149, Addressing Employment Vulnerability as Part of a Just Transition in Ireland. One of the primary conclusions of that work was that, given the uncertainty surrounding the precise nature of shocks to the economy and society (e.g. the transitions to a low-carbon and digital future), the emphasis in policy must be on identifying vulnerable sectors, communities, and workers, and the co-production of placed-based solutions. Ireland’s experience of Covid-19 over the last 18 months has reinforced the Council’s findings, and this project will apply and extend that approach to consideration of the pandemic in a manner aligned to the Government’s stated approach. Building on this and other relevant NESC work, it is proposed that NESC would evaluate aspects of Ireland’s response to the Covid-19 crisis, focusing on three questions:

  • Question 1: Is there guidance and lessons within the wider literature on vulnerability and risks in emergencies and crises management that can help us evaluate and frame the response to the pandemic in Ireland?
  • Question 2: Can the Covid-19 pandemic provide strategic lessons about public governance and how government can arrange / manage its activity to deliver the best results for society?
  • Question 3: How can the lessons learned be used to shape the recovery, and serve as an opportunity to proactively rebuild in a way that best serves our people and our environment?

Related work:
Digital Inclusion in Ireland: Connectivity, Devices & Skills
Building a New Relationship between Voluntary Organisations and the State in the Health and Social Care Sectors
Gender and Covid-19 in Ireland
Community Call: Learning for the Future
The Impacts of Covid-19 on Ethnic Minority and Migrant Groups in Ireland