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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 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 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, the Council is evaluating 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 Ireland’s experience of the pandemic provide strategic lessons about public governance and how government can arrange and manage its activity to deliver the best results for society?
  • Question 3: How can these lessons shape the recovery and future policy (e.g. sustainability, housing etc.), and serve as an opportunity to proactively rebuild in a way that best serves our people and our environment?

This research is underway and is expected to be completed in 2022. Please contact Dr Cathal FitzGerald if you have any queries.

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
Covid-19 and How We Value Work
Covid-19, Protecting Enterprises and Employment: National Responses