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    Research Interests

    My current research interests relate to the politics and practice of state retrenchment and administrative reform, issues with which I am involved in a number of international research networks, and with a particular focus on the Irish case.  As well as the areas I teach in, I have ongoing interests in the study of state agencies, political-administrative relationships, corporate governance and institutional reform, accountability studies, and various other aspects of public governance and policy. Some projects with which I am currently involved include:

    How States Retrench in Crisis: This work is concerned with the implications of economic crisis for the politics and organizational shape of the state.  It links to collaborative work in association with the FP7 COCOPS initiative 'The financial crisis in the public sector' (Prof. Tiina Randma-Liiv, Tallinn, and Prof. Walter Kickert, Rotterdam), the ESRC funded ‘Shrinking the State’ project (Prof. Chris Skelcher, Birmingham and Prof. Matthew Flinders, Sheffield) and the Building State Capacity Project at the Geary Institute, UCD (Prof Niamh Hardiman).  As part of this work I undertook a Research Fellowship examining the creation and work of the Irish Department (Ministry) of Public Expenditure and Reform, which was published in July 2017 as a monograph titled Public Sector Reform in Ireland: Countering Crisis (Palgrave).

    Evolution, Reform and Rationalisation of State Agencies: Within public management research, I have undertaken research on the autonomy, accountability and ratioanlisation of public sector agencies or ‘quangos’, and collaborated with research teams from across Europe as part of a European Science Foundation funded network (COST-CRIPO) on this issue. More recently, with colleagues from this network, we have begun examining longitudinal aspects of state bureaucracy using time-series datasets on public organisation. This work emanates from my post-doctoral research in 2009-10 at the UCD Geary Institute, which resulted in the production of the Irish State Administration Database (


    o Apologies, Abuses and Dealing with the Past: A Socio-Legal Analysis. I am Co-Investigator on this ESRC funded project, focusing on the role of apologies for abuses in the corporate sector.


    o Big Data and Open Government.  This is an emerging research theme I am involved with arising from my membership of the Leverhulme Interdisciplinary Network on Cybersecurity and Society (LINCS) Project at QUB. Specifically it is located within a research strand on Cyberspace, Privacy and Data Protection. I currently supervise one PhD in this area.


    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 Director of the multi-disciplinary MSc in Public Policy at Queen’s.


    In August 2016 I assumed the role of Director of Graduate Studies at the new School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics, incorporating all MA and PhD programmes. 

    Achievements and Distinctions

    In November 2016, I was elected President of the Political Studies Association of Ireland (PSAI; for a three-year term. 



    Willingness to take 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

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    Frequent Journals

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    Contribution to conference papers, events and activities

    ID: 2564137