Conference Information




Friday, 27 July 2018

Join us at the Irish Social Policy Association's biennial research conference on Friday, 27 July 2018 in the Carmelite Community Centre, 56 Aungier Street, Dublin 2.

Registration is now open here.

What will it feature?
The conference is intended to provide a forum for postgraduate and early career researchers in social policy and related academic fields to present their current work and network with those in the field.

It will feature presentations from postgraduate scholars and early career researchers on Irish and international social policy issues -- including (but not limited to): income, welfare, and poverty; health; education; housing; children and families; equality studies; employment; social protection; social services; social work; and community development -- and opportunities to connect with Irish policy professionals across a range of issue areas.

The full programme is available here.

Who should attend?
Anyone with an interest in Irish and international social policy and practice. The topics and discussion will be of particular interest to students (at all stages of their academic careers), academic staff, researchers, practitioners, social service users, policy professionals, nonprofits, and related sectors, but all are welcome to attend.

Conference fee

This conference is free of charge to attend. Lunch, tea, and coffee will be provided. Registration is now open here.

Funding to cover travel costs is available

The ISPA will cover receipted travel expenses of up to €40 for any presenter travelling to the conference from a third-level institution outside of Dublin.


Any queries can be sent to ISPA Postgraduate Office Megan Curran at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Slides available below; click on the presenter's name!

Social Policy in Recession and Recovery -
in association with the Social Research Association (SRA).

Friday, 1st July 2016. Carmelite Centre, Aungier Street, Dublin 2.

                                                     logo small                      SRA logo


09:30 – 10:30 Plenary Session

Plenary Speakers:

        Professor Séan Ó Riain

Department of Sociology, Maynooth University

        Dr Michelle Norris

School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice, University College Dublin

11:00 – 12:20 Parallel sessions 1-4


Session 1: Housing I            (Room 1)

   Session Chair: Michelle Norris (UCD)
  PJ Drudy (TCD) The Housing Problem and the Case for Rent Regulation in the Private Rented Sector

Jenny Andersson

(All Hallows/Threshold)

Rent regulation - Could it be a part of a long term solution?
  Daragh McCarthy (Housing Agency) Measuring housing cost affordability - implications for hosueholds and public policy.



Session 2: Health I: Access & Taxes           (Room 2)

Session organised with the Social Research Association (SRA)

   Session Chair: Naomi Feely (SRA)
  Stephen Thomas (TCD) et al

Equity of Resource Allocation in Urgent and Emergency Care Systems in Ireland


Michelle Murphy (Social Justice Ireland)

Reducing obesity and future health costs - a proposal for health-related taxes
  Noelle Cotter (SRA and IPHI) Sugar sweetened Drink TaxesL A targeted measure or a policy scapegoat?



Session 3: Low Pay & Precarious Work      (Room 3)

   Session Chair: Ann Stokes (ISPA)
  Micheál Collins (NERI) Women and Low Pay: an empirical assessment 
  Alicja Bobek & James Wickham (TASC) Irish Hospitality Sector: Low Pay and Flexible Work 
  Niamh Holton (NERI) Modelling the impact of an increase in Low Pay in the Republic of Ireland



Session 4: One-Parent Families       (Room 4)

   Session Chair: David Begg (TASC)
  Amy Greer Murphy (Durham University)  Whose recovery: austerity, lone mothers and social protection

Caroline Fahey (SVP)

Impact of the reforms to the One Parent Family Payment: Stories from Parents
  Louise Bayliss (SPARK)  Child maintenance - a key to reducing poverty among lone parent families?



13:00 – 14:20 Parallel sessions 5-8


Session 5: Housing II           (Room 1)

   Session Chair: Nat O’Connor (Ulster University / ISPA)
  Rory Hearne (TASC) Deepening housing crisis in Ireland: analysis of causes and solutions

Stuart Stamp (Maynooth University)

Mortgage Arrears in Co. Mayo: A spatial dimension to a national problem?

Kate Doyle (ALONE)

Housing and Homelessness among Older People: planning for the accommodation needs of our ageing population



Session 6: Health II             (Room 2)

   Session Chair: Tom McDonnell (NERI)

Vivienne Byers (DIT)

Health Care for all in Ireland? The Consequences of Politics for Health Policy.

Niraj Singh (DIT)

Is obesity suffering from ‘inequality syndrome’ in Irish policy?

Lola Odewumi (DIT)

Implementation of Integrated Care Policy: A Comparative Study

Des Williams and Stephen Thomas (HSE and TCD)

The Impact of austerity on the health workforce and the achievement of human resources for health (HRH) policies in Ireland (2008-2014)



Session 7:Poverty and Income Adequacy            (Room 3)

Session organised with the Association of Community Welfare Officers (ACWO)

   Session Chair: Padraig Rehill (ACWO / ISPA)
  Dorothy Watson (ESRI) Who suffered most in the great recession? A cautionary tale

Susan Marie Martin (UCC)

‘Best Intentions’ and the Urban Poor: Regulation of Public Space and Market Rights Under Austerity
  Robert Thornton (VPSJ)

Low Hour Work and Income Adequacy




Session 8:Mothers, Children & Young People     (Room 4)

   Session Chair: Geoffrey Cook (ISPA)
  Evelyn Mahon (TCD) Irish Mammies: Reconciling Work and Family Life

Karen Smith (UCD)

Beyond the Discourse of Investment: Policy for Children in Ireland

Ann Stokes

(Maynooth University)

Investigating the effectiveness of new wraparound models of care in the community for children and families
  Eoin Carroll (Jesuit Centre for Faith & Justice) & Cathy Kelleher Transforming Prison for Young Adults (aged 18–24): from penal expansion to the impact of recession and recovery

14:40 – 16:00 Parallel sessions 9-12


Session 9: Health III – Healthcare Finance                       (Room 1)

Session organised with the Irish Gerontological Society (IGS)

   Session Chair: Lorna Roe (IGS / ISPA)
  Paul Goldrick Kelly (NERI) The Fiscal Implications of Demographic Change in the Health Sector
  Charles Normand (TCD) Population growth, ageing and universal health care (UHC) in Ireland
  Maev-Ann Wren (ESRI) (presenting), Sheelah Connolly, Nathan Cunningham (TCD) The Potential Costs of Universal Health Insurance in Ireland


Session 10: Politics & Political Participation         (Room 2)

   Session Chair: Frank Mills (ISPA)

Michelle Maher

(Maynooth University)

The Politics of Pensions


Ciara Murphy

(All Hallows)

Education to Increase Voters Participation among Young People

Ciaran Hughes,

Markus Ketola

(Ulster University, IRiSS)

Finding a new story to tell: neoliberalism, competition and challenges to voluntary action in Northern Ireland



Session 11: Basic Income               (Room 3)

   Session Chair: Anne Ryan (Basic Income Ireland)

Sean Healy

(Social Justice Ireland)

Basic Income - Context, Costings and Critique

Michael Taft

(Unite the Union)

Realising a Modest Basic Income

Eamon Murphy

(Social Justice Ireland)

Universal Pension - towards a Basic Income




Session 12:Research with Vulnerable Groups    (Room 4)

Session organised with the Social Research Association (SRA)

   Session Chair: Noelle Cotter (SRA)

Sandra Roe

Key issues in conducting research with children and young people

Fiona Daly (EPIC)

‘It’s about Me’: Young people’s experiences of participating in their Child in Care Reviews

Ruth Elliffe (School of Social Work and Social Policy, TCD)

Challenges faced in seeking ethical approval to conduct research with children on a sensitive topic


16:10 – 17:30 Parallel sessions 13-16


Session 13: Health IV – Healthcare & Older People                   (Room 1)

Session organised with the Irish Gerontological Society (IGS)

   Session Chair: Vivienne Byers (DIT / ISPA)

Lorna Roe (TCD)


Examining variation in healthcare service-use among frail older people who live at home: Implications for Irish health policy
  Mary Ann O’Donovan (UCD & TCD) Relocation or reshuffle: an examination of where older people with an intellectual disability are moving
  Sarah Donnelly (UCD) “I’d prefer to stay at home but I don’t have a choice.” Meeting Older People’s Preference for Care: Policy, but what about practice?



Session 14: Policy & Public Services                     (Room 2)

   Session Chair: Eoin Carroll (JCF&J / ISPA)

Nat O’Connor

(Ulster University)

Commissioning Public Services Using a Public Value Creation Framework

Mary P. Murphy

(Maynooth University)

Policy proofing, learning from the past, informing the future
  Derek Rafferty (Dept of Transport Tourism & Sport) Safety Cameras in Ireland – public service or golden goose?



Session 15: Labour Market Issues              (Room 3)

   Session Chair: Philip O’Connell (UCD Geary Institute)

Nuala Whelan

(Maynooth University)

Well-being and employability:  putting the job seeker first
  Kasey Treadwell Shine (Department of Social Protection) It’s not just ‘what works’: The evolution of the Pathways to Work Evaluation Programme
  David Joyce (ICTU) and David Cichon (TCD) Global Labour Rights under the Sustainable Development Agenda



Session 16: Social Change in Contemporary Society         (Room 4)

   Session Chair: Tony McCashin (TCD / ISPA)

Elena Moore

(University of Cape Town)

Recession and Divorce in Ireland: Coming back for another bite of the cherry
  Pablo Rojas Coppari (Migrant Rights Centre) Is Ireland home; what are the implications of irregular status in the development of social policy?
  Stephan Köppe (UCD) Resilience in times of crisis. Upper middle class households coping strategies in England and Scotland.

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