The National Economic and Social Council (NESC) was established in 1973 and advises the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) on strategic policy issues relating to sustainable economic, social and environmental development in Ireland. The members of the Council are appointed by the Taoiseach, for a three year term. These members are representatives of business and employers’ organisations, trade unions, agricultural and farming organisations, community and voluntary organisations, and environmental organisations; as well as heads of Government departments and independent experts. The make-up of the NESC Council means that it plays an important and unique role in bringing different perspectives from civil society together with Government. This helps NESC to analyse the challenges facing Irish society and to develop a shared understanding among its members of how to tackle these challenges.

NESC has a history of producing reports with strategic, long-term analyses of key economic and social development issues affecting Ireland. Its early work focused on the economy, taxation, population and emigration, and agricultural policy. It has also produced reports over the years on employment, housing and education, social policy, Ireland in the EU, public services, and well-being. From 1986 to 2006 NESC regularly produced strategy reports which were the basis for negotiating the social partnership agreements, as well as contributing to development of overall Government policy.

In January 2012, the sustainable development role performed by Comhár, the Sustainable Development Council (SDC), was integrated into the work of the National Economic and Social Council (NESC). NESC has since developed its work in a way that integrates sustainable development issues into its analysis of significant national challenges.

Sub Collections

Recent Submissions

  • Ireland's Private Rental Sector: Pathways to Secure Occupancy and Affordable Supply 

    Cahill, Noel; McGauran, Anne Marie (National Economic and Social Council, ireland, 2015-05-13)
    Council report (National Economic and Social Council), 141, May 2015
    This report is NESC’s contribution to Government development of a new national policy for the private rental sector, including issues such as investment, standards and regulation, as indicated in Construction 2020 and the ...
  • Valuing Nature- Perspectives and Issues 

    Bresnihan, Patrick (National Economic and Social Council, ireland, 2017-04)
    Research series (National Economic and Social Council), no.11, April 2017
    This report aims to open the debate on Natural Capital by engaging with a growing body of critical scholarly work, as well as grassroots environmental movements, particularly those in the Global South. This work pulls the ...
  • Nature’s Values: From Intrinsic to Instrumental. A review of values and valuation methodologies in the context of ecosystem services and natural capital 

    Bullock, Craig H. (National Economic and Social Council, ireland, 2017-04)
    Research series (National Economic and Social Council), no.10, April 2017
    Consciously or not, people attach values to aspects that are important in their lives. These values can inform their preferences and their behaviour. They attach a value to a clean, healthy, functioning environment just ...
  • Reflections on Infrastructure Policy and Institutional Developments in the UK 

    Thomas, Damian; O'Donnell, Rory (National Economic and Social Council, ireland, 2017-11)
    Secretariat paper (National Economic and Social Council), 12, September 2017
    This paper describes and reflects on the evolution of the UK’s approach to infrastructure policy and planning. The purpose is to help inform the development of Irish infrastructure policy as we return to higher levels ...
  • Moving Towards the Circular Economy in Ireland 

    O'Rafferty, Simon (National Economic and Social Council, ireland, 2017-10-25)
    Council report (National Economic and Social Council), 144, October 2017
    There is increasing recognition of the potential benefits for economies and societies of moving away from a ‘make-use-dispose’ model towards adopting a circular economy, thereby maximising resource efficiency and environmental ...

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