• Room 02.003 - 23 University Square

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

I am open to PhD applications in the fields of: - Irish Government and Politics - Public Administration - Public Policy - Local Government - Public Sector Reform


Research output per year

If you made any changes in Pure these will be visible here soon.

Personal profile

Research Interests

My research engages with a variety of debates within and between political science and public sector governance.  I am particularly interested in the role played by administrative systems (and the organisations within them) in translating political preferences into policy outcomes.  

Current research projects include:

How States Retrench in Times of Crisis: This ongoing research is concerned with the implications of the 2008 economic crisis for the politics and organizational shape of the state.  It links to collaborative work which emerged from the European Commission FP7 COCOPS initiative 'The financial crisis in the public sector' (Prof. Tiina Randma-Liiv, Tallinn, and Prof. Walter Kickert, Rotterdam) and the Building State Capacity Project at the Geary Institute, UCD (Prof Niamh Hardiman).  As part of this work, I was awarded a Research Fellowship (2014-16) to examine the creation and reform efforts of the Irish Department (Ministry) of Public Expenditure and Reform. This was published in July 2017 as a monograph titled Public Sector Reform in Ireland: Countering Crisis (Palgrave). 

o Public Accountability and Crisis:I am a Co-Investigator on the ESRC funded project ‘Apologies Abuses and Dealing with the Past’ (2016-20). This comparative project explores apologies linked to harms arising from  the conflict in Ireland, institutional child abuse and the fall-out from the 2008 financial crisis. My role in this project is to lead on issues relating to organisational reputation and accountability, specifically in relation to financial institutions.

Data, Technology and Government.  This is an emerging research theme I am involved with arising from my role as Co-Investigator in the Leverhulme Interdisciplinary Network on Cybersecurity and Society (LINCS) Project at QUB. My work aligns with the research strand on Cyberspace, Privacy and Data Protection. I currently supervise a PhD student (Connel McKeown) working on Accountability and Open Data.

Evolution and Reform of State Agencies: For the past several years I have been involved in research on the autonomy, accountability, rationalisation and re-organsation of public sector agencies or ‘quangos’. This involves ongoing collaboration with research teams across Europe as part of a European Science Foundation funded network (COST-CRIPO). With colleagues from this network I have recently begun to examine longitudinal aspects of state bureaucracy using time-series datasets on public organisation. This work builds on my post-doctoral research in 2009-10 at the UCD Geary Institute with Prof Niamh Hardiman and Prof Colin Scott, which resulted in the production of the Irish State Administration Database (www.isad.ie).

Irish Government and Politics: Since publishing my PhD thesis concerning parliamentary accountability in Ireland in 2005, I have authored and edited a number of textbooks on Irish government and politics and continue to teach on these topics.  More recently, in my role as President of the Political Studies Association of Ireland (2016-19), I have sought to grow the Irish political science community and develop its profile nationally and internationally.   

As well as researching, teaching and superivisng in these areas, I have published work and retain ongoing interests in the study of political-administrative relationships, parliaments, organisational theory, and public policy studies. 

Some of my research papers on these and other topics are available via the Social Science Research Network or Google Scholar. A number of blogs are also available on The Conversation and QPOL.
I am a Visiting Lecturer at the UCD Geary Institute and am also an Associate Fellow of UCD’s Centre for Regulation and Governance.


Research Supervision
I am happy to supervise dissertations and theses allied to my teaching and research interests as outlined above, as well as related fields.


My teaching concerns Irish politics and government, and international public administration/management and policy respectively. I convene the Level 3 Module on Politics, Public Administration and Policy-Making (PAI 3068) and the MA Module on The Politics of the Republic of Ireland (PAI7022). I am Programme Convenor of the inter-disciplinary MSc in International Public Policy at Queen’s.



In November 2016, I was elected President of the Political Studies Association of Ireland (PSAI; www.psai.ie) for a 3-year term. 

In May 2018 I was invited to join the Royal Irish Academy's Ethical, Political, Legal and Philosophical Committee for a 3-year term.

In September 2019 I was appointed by the General Assembly of the European Group for Public Administration (EGPA) to the EGPA Steering Committee.



Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Muiris MacCarthaigh is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.


Research Output

A Political Science Perspective on Fake News

MacCarthaigh, M. & McKeown, C., 14 May 2020, (Accepted) Data Science for Fake News: Surveys and Perspectives. Chakraborty, T., Kumar, S., Long, C. & Padmanabhan, D. (eds.). Springer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

  • Administrative Culture

    MacCarthaigh, M. & Saarniit, L., 04 Nov 2019, Encyclopedia of Public Administration . Thynne, I. & Peters, B. G. (eds.). OUP Oxford

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

  • Exploiting Conditionality: EU and International Actors and post-NPM Reform in Ireland

    MacCarthaigh, M. & Hardiman, N., 10 Apr 2019, Public Policy and Administration, 35, 2, p. 179-200 22 p.

    Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

    Open Access
  • 2 Citations (Scopus)
    169 Downloads (Pure)

    Precarious Bicameralism? Senates in Ireland from the late Middle Ages to the Present

    MacCarthaigh, M. & Martin, S., 18 Oct 2019, Reforming Senates: Upper Legislative Houses in North Atlantic Small Powers 1800-present . Bijleveld, N., Grittner, C., Smith, D. E. & Verstegen, W. (eds.). London : Routledge, p. 239-54 16 p. (Routledge Studies in Modern History).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

    33 Downloads (Pure)

    Public service integration in hard times: Merging unemployment benefit and labour market activation measures

    Köppe, S. & MacCarthaigh, M., 03 Jun 2019, In : Administration. 67, 2, p. 137-60 24 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 102 Downloads (Pure)


    Certificate of Commendation for Teaching and Learning

    MacCarthaigh, Muiris (Recipient), Dec 2016

    Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

  • Visit Belfast Ambassador Recognition Award 2017

    MacCarthaigh, Muiris (Recipient), 16 Nov 2017

    Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)


    The implications of COVID-19 for the governance, role and capabilities of public sector organisations

    Muiris MacCarthaigh (Chair)

    04 Sep 2020

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesPublic lecture/debate/seminar

    External Examiner for MA Business by Research degree

    Muiris MacCarthaigh (Examiner)

    10 Sep 2020

    Activity: Examination typesPGT external examination

    Steering Committee meeting

    Muiris MacCarthaigh (Advisor)

    05 Feb 202006 Feb 2020

    Activity: Consultancy typesContribution to the work of national or international committees and working groups


    Muiris MacCarthaigh (Advisor)

    Mar 2020

    Activity: Consultancy typesContribution to the work of national or international committees and working groups

    Governing Activation in Ireland project

    Muiris MacCarthaigh (Advisor)

    Feb 2020Aug 2021

    Activity: Consultancy typesContribution to the work of national or international committees and working groups

    Press / Media

    Coronavirus, elections and the debt of Irish banks

    Muiris MacCarthaigh


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Other

    Irish General Election 2020

    Muiris MacCarthaigh


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Expert Comment

    Irish General Election 2020

    Muiris MacCarthaigh


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Public Engagement Activities

    En Irlande du Nord, les unionistes déboussolés

    Muiris MacCarthaigh


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Expert Comment


    Does Open Data Increase Government Accountability?

    Author: McKeown, C., Dec 2020

    Supervisor: MacCarthaigh, M. (Supervisor) & Padmanabhan, D. (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy