Sovereignty Regained: Has the bailout changed the Irish State?

On April 4th, the Department of Government at UCC will host a one day conference Sovereignty Regained: Has the bailout changed the Irish State? The conference brings together a group of Irish politics academics, columnists and political editors who will consider the post bailout political environment for voters, parties and public office holders. Paper givers will assess the reform agenda, its implementation and the evolution of public institutions since the crisis. All are welcome and a full programme for the day is available below. To register please contact Margaret O’Leary by email at


Friday, 4th April – Aula Maxima, UCC                                                             (All welcome)

 Sovereignty Regained: Has the bailout changed the Irish State?


Attendance is free but prior registration is requested. To register, please email Margaret O’Leary at


10.15am – 11.30am: Panel One                    Voters and Parties    

Chair: Mary Smithwick, Cork Evening Echo

 Prof Kevin Rafter (DCU): Media Framing, the economic crisis

Dr Theresa Reidy (UCC): Citizens & Politics at the Crossroads

Dr Jane Suiter (DCU): Tracking the opinion polls


11.30am: Break


 11.45am – 1.00pm: Panel Two                      Candidates and Office Holders

Chair: Mary Regan, Irish Examiner

 Prof Michael Gallagher (TCD): TD & Ministerial Backgrounds: Changing or more or less the same?

Fiona Buckley (UCC): Legislating for Gender Quotas in Ireland: Changing Irish Political Culture?

Dr Adrian Kavanagh (NUIM): What New Political Landscape? Candidate Selection Trends at the 2014 Local and European Elections


1.00pm – 2.00pm: Lunch


 2.00pm – 3.15pm: Panel Three                     Public Institutions

Chair: Fionnán Sheahan, Irish Independent

 Dr Eoin O’Malley (DCU): Rethinking Accountability in the Irish State

Dr Bernadette Connaughton (UL): The role of Political Advisors

Dr Muiris MacCarthaigh (QUB): Public Service Reform


3.15pm: Break


3.30pm – 4.45pm: Panel Four           A Lot Done, More to Do: The reform roadmap to date

Chair: Alison O’Connor, Irish Examiner

 Prof Gary Murphy (DCU): The Culture of Lobbying

Prof David Farrell (UCD): The Constitutional Convention

Dr Aodh Quinlivan (UCC): Local Government: And now the reform challenge begins


Further information is available from the conference convenors: Fiona Buckley ( and Dr Theresa Reidy (







3 thoughts on “Sovereignty Regained: Has the bailout changed the Irish State?

  1. Looks like an interesting discussion.
    Pity that the general public got so little notice of this.
    Having joined PSAI in order to get advance notice of such events, I wonder if I have wasted my money?

  2. Sovereignty regained?
    Two questions for consideration during the coffee breaks, if they are not addressed during the formal sessions
    1. Given the State’s obligations to repay huge debts, to what extent are policies taking on the features of an “extractive state” as set out in Acemoglu, Daron and Robinson, James A Why Nations Fail – the origins of power, prosperity and poverty (2012)?

    2. Given the publication earlier this week of the latest IPCC report on Climate Change, it would be interesting to hear the views of participants in today’s conference on the extent to which any changes made to the structure and functioning of the state have addressed the challenges implied in Olson’s analysis on the power and influence of distributional coalitions on policy making and implementation. While this has been summarised in a recent IIEA report on Climate Change*, it almost certainly applies to other policy areas
    “1.2. Irish Climate Policy-making
    Political economy theory suggests that because of the inherent nature of climate policy, it will tend to face an implementation challenge. This is primarily because of how the costs and benefits of climate policy are distributed in society. Benefits are generally incremental and distributed evenly across society, and will in some cases only be felt by future generations. Costs can, on the other hand, often be immediate, and can in some cases disproportionately affect specific groups in society. Where this dynamic exists, it creates the classic conditions for the under-provision of a public good (in this instance, climate protection), and can be harmful to the public good, in a manner seminally described by Mancur Olsen.8

    8 Olsen argues that small distributional coalitions tend to form over time in countries to influence policies in their favor. These policies will generally generate selective benefits concentrated amongst the few members of the coalition, while the costs are diffused through¬out the whole population; the “Logic” therefore dictates that there will be little public resistance to them. Hence as time goes on, and these distributional coalitions accumulate in greater and greater numbers, the nation burdened by them will fall into economic decline. See: Olson. M. (1971) [1965]. The Logic of Collective Action: Public Goods and the Theory of Groups (Revised edition ed.). Harvard, Harvard University Press.”
    *From Curtin, Joseph & Hanrahan, Gina. Why Legislate? Designing a Climate Law for Ireland, Dublin: Institute of International and European Affairs, February 2012.)

  3. Does it really need a full day? The answer is clearly no.

    Irish Water will be a case study to show that nothing has changed at policy level and the Local & EU elections when, despite all the whinging and moaning, about 75% of the public will again vote for the same three parties they’ve always voted for, but then feign shock that there is no reform, indicating the public’s attitude to the contribution the way they vote, and for whom, affects the political culture hasn’t changed either.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s