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Call for Government to cede policy making role to citizens

3U Collaboration on Civil Society and Public Policy in Ireland 

Meaningful public participation is central to the development of a new approach to democracy in Ireland, according to 3U researchers: Dr Deiric Ó Broin, DCU and Dr Mary Murphy, NUI Maynooth. Their new book, ‘Politics, Participation and Power: Civil Society and Public Policy in Ireland’, was launched today by Emily O’ Reilly, Ombudsman and Information Commissioner at City Hall in Dublin.

By reviewing the current state of public participation in Ireland across a range of policy areas and offering a critical examination of both the discourse and practice of participation as well as degrees of equality in opportunities for participation, ‘Politics, Participation and Power: Civil Society and Public Policy in Ireland’ highlights how many public policy processes are perceived to lack legitimacy, why these perceptions exist and how this can be addressed. It offers an insightful account of the dynamics of participation and suggests why many citizens' experiences have been frustrating as well as transformative.

Speaking at the launch, Emily O’ Reilly, Ombudsman and Information Commissioner acknowledged the importance of combining academic insight with the experience of those involved in public policy. “As this book acutely observes, participative structures are meaningless without concrete underpinning by local and national government. Without this, the transformative potential of new forms of civic participation will remain unrealised”.

‘Politics, Participation and Power’, which contains chapters drafted by academics from several educational institutions, edited by Dr Ó Broin and Dr Murphy, is an informative and thought-provoking survey of the wide range of ways that popular political participation in Ireland has been stimulated, frustrated, manipulated and occasionally advanced in the last half century.  

A valuable resource for students of politics, sociology, local development, public administration, public policy and spatial planning or anyone interested in mobilising democratic action for the sake of promoting a more equal Ireland, ‘Politics, Participation and Power’ provides a comprehensive exploration of participatory processes in Ireland, from expert and practitioner perspectives.

About 3U

3U is a partnership between DCU, NUI Maynooth and RCSI which brings together three distinctive and leading institutions collaborating on shared initiatives. By providing a convergent forum for complementary expertise from the three institutions, the 3U Partnership catalyses research and innovation across a range of key areas of importance to society. Further information at

About the editors

Dr Deiric Ó Broin - Deiric Ó Broin has been Chief Executive of NorDubCo (DCU's civic engagement forum) since August 1999. For some years previously he was employed as an economic policy analyst in the private sector. From 1995-1997 he worked in the Office of Labour Affairs in the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, and in the Office of the Tánaiste. He is a graduate of the Dublin Institute of Technology, National College of Industrial Relations, UCC where he obtained a MBS, and UCD, where he completed a MA and PhD. He is a full member of the Institution of Economic Development, the professional body for those involved in economic development policy, the Regional Studies Association, the international learned society concerned with analysis of regions and sub national issues.

Dr Mary Murphy - Lecturer in Irish Politics and Society at NUI Maynooth, Dr Mary Murphy graduated from Trinity College Dublin in 1986 (B.A. (Hons) Economics and Sociology). Having worked internationally for several years, Dr Murphy returned to Ireland and served for fifteen years in social justice campaigning groups (from 1991 – 1998 as Assistant General Secretary, National Organisation of the Unemployed and from 1998 – 2001 as National Social Policy Officer, Society of St Vincent De Paul). Dr Murphy has represented antipoverty interests in national policy institutions including National Economic and Social Council, National Economic and Social Forum and other national social partnership policy processes. She also served a term (2003-2008) as a Councillor in Dublin City Council chairing the Housing community and Social Affairs committee and was a member of the Corporate Policy Group. In 2002 Dr Murphy was awarded a Combat Poverty Agency PHD Scholarship and graduated in 2006 with a PhD - ‘Domestic Constraints on Globalisation: A Case study of Irish Social Security Policy 1986-2006’, School of Law and Government, Dublin City University.

27th May, 2013