Luke Daly – Department of Finance
I completed my undergraduate degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics in Maynooth University. Following this, I completed my M.A. in Economics in Maynooth University in the summer of 2016.
In University my interest in economics was predominantly in microeconomics – labour economics and inequality. These interests are reflected in my Masters thesis which examined Irish household wealth inequality from 1987-2013. However, I was always interested in the Irish macroeconomy, particularly in how empirical research and economic theory combine to form economic policy.
Before becoming a member of IGEES in March 2017 I worked in the Central Statistics Office on a nine month graduate placement where my work involved developing the methodology to be used for the production approach to measuring GDP. This gave me valuable experience working with large and complex datasets.
In my current role as an IGEES economist, I work in the forecasting unit in the Economics Division in the Department of Finance which has afforded me the opportunity to build upon the skills and interests that I developed in university. More specifically, I am involved in analysing and modelling supply side aspects of the economy, assessing technical aspects of public finances, ensuring compliance with the European fiscal rules and monitoring public debt sustainability developments. This work can be technical and challenging at times but I have found it to be very rewarding. In the short period of time that I have worked in the Department, I have already attended meetings with the IFAC, OECD and European Commission. As well as the day to day work there are opportunities to present work, for example, within the Department and at IGEES Policy seminars, or to write research papers which can be submitted for presentation at external conferences such as the Irish Economic Association annual conference.
More generally, being a member of IGEES provides an opportunity to be involved in policy and to engage with policy stakeholders. I have found that it provides a diverse range of possibilities for economists interested in both microeconomics and macroeconomics alike to broaden their horizons by gaining valuable policy experience and the opportunity to develop their skills. In this regard, I have been impressed by the focus IGEES has placed on supporting the learning and development needs of its members.
Judith Merimans – Department of Public Expenditure and Reform
After my internship in the Economic division in the Dutch Embassy in Dublin, I was looking for an opportunity to kick off my career in economics. With a passion for public policy and economics, IGEES offered a chance to carry out analysis and contribute to the public cause.
Since April this year I work in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in the Health Vote division. The place suits me well, considering my BSc. in Health Sciences and MSc in Economics of Public Policy. In the Health Vote we carry out analysis regarding the performance of the public health system. We seek to identify where in the sector better value for money could be achieved. The work includes gathering, analysing, and presenting data, keeping up-to-date with international best practices, and engaging with executives in the area – all to inform policy decisions. It is rewarding to see your analysis feeding into public policy directly.
I discovered that there are plenty opportunities within IGEES to work in different places and develop yourself professionally. We are encouraged to regularly attend conferences and seminars, which allows us to stay up-to-date within our own policy area, while also maintaining a broad orientation within the field of policy economics in general. Likewise, there is room for continued formal education, which motivated me to start a part-time masters in Data Analytics.
I very much enjoyed my career in IGEES so far, and look forward to the opportunities that will arise in the future.
Padraig Reidy – Department of Public Expenditure and Reform
Studying economics in secondary school sparked my interest in learning more about how the economy works. Four years of economics and sociology in the University of Limerick fuelled this interest so I went on to do a Masters in Economics with a focus on evaluation and policy in NUI Galway.
As part of that Masters, I worked as an intern with the Revenue Commissioners. This opportunity exposed me to the practical application of economic concepts and theory and how to bring these together in order to advise on real world tax policy issues.
Over the next couple of years I worked in a variety of roles, most notably with Indecon Economic Consultants. In addition to assisting private sector clients, at Indecon I worked with Departments and other public bodies to provide economic expertise in areas such as the labour market, housing, tax policy and communications policy.
I joined IGEES as an AO (Graduate) Economist in May 2015. Since this point, working in the IGEES Unit in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER), I have been involved in a diverse range of projects ranging from reviewing business cases for new expenditure, working on the Budget, developing economic expertise across the public service through training and working on a variety of reports in areas such as enterprise policy, employment supports and capital expenditure.
Having recently been promoted, I now work in the section in DPER that deals with policy issues related to the aggregate number of public servants employed by the State.
Kate Ivory – Irish Fiscal Advisory Council
I joined IGEES as an Administrative Officer in August 2014. I had studied economics in Trinity College Dublin, and worked in Deloitte in the audit department following graduation. Having undertaken internships in Forfás previously, I decided I wanted to pursue a career in public policy using my economics skills.
On joining IGEES I began working in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, in the IGEES unit. During my time in the IGEES unit I worked on the Budget and the Capital Plan, contributing analysis to inform prioritisation and drafting the reports. In the IGEES unit I worked with a wide range of Departments providing technical advice on evaluations. In my first year I spent three months on secondment to the Civil Service Renewal team developing the first Civil Service wide employee engagement survey.
I also represented the Department on working groups with members from across different sectors to report to Government on key policy issues. During my time in the Department I provided analysis on a wide variety of topics including childcare, unemployment and labour force participation, public service pay and capital expenditure. The Department also supported me and provided funding to undertake a part-time Masters in Economics in Trinity College Dublin.
In 2017 I began a secondment in the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council. In the Fiscal Council, I work on a wide range of projects including analysis of tax and expenditure policy, labour market forecasts, and long term budgetary forecasts.
Elaine Kennedy – Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
I originally chose to study economics in University of Limerick with a view to becoming a secondary school teacher, however after a couple of months in University it became clear to me that this wasn’t the career path for me. From second year I began the scenic route to becoming an economist, dabbling in politics along the way. As part of the Cooperative Education programme, I completed an internship in the European Parliament and after graduation worked as a Parliamentary assistant for two years. I followed the proceedings of the Econ committee, therefore keeping abreast of economic issues at European level.
I joined IGEES as an AO (Graduate) Economist in May 2015. Since then I have been working in the Evaluation and Audit Unit of the Department of Foreign Affairs. My duties in the unit are very diverse and for me very interesting. My day job involves evaluating Department expenditure, most notably I worked on a Focussed Policy Assessment of the US Mission Network and an Evaluation of Irish Aid’s Provincial Programme in Mozambique.
My work also takes me beyond the scope of IGEES. I have served as Chargé d’affaires in the Irish Embassy in Lisbon twice and I also regularly serve as the Department’s Duty Officer. I have also sampled life in the passport office and consular division.