Public Dialogue Programme

NorDubCo’s vision for North Dublin is of a region where communities, business and public agencies work together to create the appropriate conditions for success. In working to achieve this vision NorDubCo facilitates dialogue between the region’s many communities and stakeholders about the major issues facing our shared region. An important component of this process has been the development of a Public Dialogue Programme. This constitutes a vital part of our strategic plan and is integrated with the other components of our work, e.g. our Applied Research Programme and our continued involvement in Dublin City University’s Civic Engagement as a key part of Network and Linkages Programme.

Our Public Dialogue Programme has three distinct components:

(a) Martin McEvoy Annual Conference;

(b) Occasional Conferences and Seminars;

(c) Policy Briefing Series.

Martin McEvoy Annual Conference

The Martin McEvoy Annual Conference commemorates the contribution of Martin McEvoy to the work of NorDubCo and to North Dublin. Martin served North Dublin in a wide variety of roles. As well as serving as Chairperson of NorDubCo, he worked with the Finglas-Cabra Partnership as chairperson for their first five years and in the process supported hundreds of local people set up businesses or find worthwhile employment. He was a founding member and former President of the North Dublin Chamber of Commerce. He also chaired the Fingal Enterprise Board, again supporting scores of new businesses to get started and grow.

Throughout his work in civic life he was constantly questioning the assumptions of many policy makers, particularly their understanding of the relationship between public policy and economic development. His involvement with NorDubCo was marked by an insatiable curiosity about economics, politics and civic involvement. He attended and contributed to many seminars and conferences and always knew how to ask a tough question in a remarkably polite way. He was proud that the region now had its own university and enjoyed that it hosted the annual seminar series. To Martin, opening its doors and serving the region in this way was what a university is all about. It is our hope that his spirit of earnest inquiry will infuse our ongoing work.

The 2018 Martin McEvoy Annual Conference ‘Good Policy/Bad Policy – Public Policy Implementation in Ireland’ is taking place in DCU’s All Hallows Campus on Friday 15th June 2018.

The 2016 Martin McEvoy Annual Conference ‘New Politics and Policy in the City – Mayoral Governance of the Dublin City Region’ examined potential models of mayoral governance and the implications of each for the region and its stakeholders. The seminar was held on Wednesday 14th September 2016 in Purcell House in the All Hallows Campus of Dublin City University.

The seminar’s keynote address was delivered by Professor Colin Copus, Professor of Local Politics at De Montfort University, and included presentations from Professor Colin Knox (Ulster University), Dr. Eoin O’Malley (Dublin City University), Orla O’Donnell (Institute of Public Administration), Dr. Aodh Quinlivan (University College Cork), Dr. Pauline Cullen (Maynooth University) and Dr. Mark Callanan (Institute of Public Administration).

The conference also included a Practitioner Roundtable facilitated by Pat Carey and included representatives of Sinn Féin (Cllr. Mícheál Mac Donncha), Fianna Fáil (Cllr. Paul McAuliffe), Fine Gael (Cllr. Norma Sammon), Labour (Cllr. Dermot Lacey), Greens (Cllr. Roderic O’Gorman), Social Democrats (Cllr. Gary Gannon), Workers Party (Cllr. Éilis Ryan), Independents (Cllr. David O’Connor) and the People Before Profit Alliance (Cllr. John Lyons).

The presentations are available below:

The contributions from the conference will be also published as a edited volume in September 2018.


The 2013 Martin McEvoy Conference was entitled ‘Adapting to Climate Change: Social Sciences Shaping the Public Policy Response at Local Level’ and examined the very significant challenges climate change poses for all governments and societies. The papers were published as an edited volume ‘Adapting to Climate Change – Governance Challenges’ and launched by the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Alex White TD in December 2015.

Political analysis of the issue has tended to focus on how national governments are reacting. The Martin McEvoy Conference 2013 examined how local governments are responding and how expertise in the social sciences may support their actions. The social sciences are increasingly examining and engaging with the idea of climate change from a diverse range of perspectives while Ireland and other EU governments are already committed to drastic reductions in carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions to counteract future risks to livelihoods. Questions being raised include how carbon mitigation programmes will impact locally on production, jobs, consumption, mobility and quality of life and how the social sciences can aid the transition towards a low carbon economy and society. The conference offered a platform to local public agencies, communities, civil society organisations and social scientists to examine these issues. The contributors included:

  • Professor Peadar Kirby – University of Limerick;
  • Mark Bennett – Dublin City Council;
  • Patricia Mackey – North Down Borough Council;
  • Dr. Eoin O’Malley – Dublin City University;
  • Dr. John Barry – Queen’s University Belfast;
  • Dr. Conor Murphy – NUI-Maynooth;
  • Dr. Travis O’Doherty – University of Limerick.


The 2012 Martin McEvoy Conference was entitled ‘The Engaged University’ and examined the role of the university in the development of its region. The event held on the 6th December 2012 and opened with a keynote address delivered by Dr. Louise Kempton, Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies at Newcastle University. The seminar examined the role of the university through two distinct panels: Economic and Enterprise Engagement, faciliated by Cepta Dowling (Northside Partnership), and Civic and Social Engagement, faciliated by Professor Ronaldo Munck (DCU Office of Civic Engagement):

  • Professor David Jacobson – Building a regional innovation system in North Dublin;
  • Dr. Theo Lynn – Facilitating entrepreneurship and enterprise development in the region;
  • Dr. Helen McQuillan – Community-based learning and active citizenship;
  • Dr. Padraig Murphy and Brian Trench – Community-based research and the democratisation of knowledge;
  • Dr. Deiric Ó Broin – Regional partnerships and the engaged university.


The 2011 Martin McEvoy Annual Conference examined the role of local governments, local public agencies and public policy in rebuilding local economies. The papers are currently being edited for publication.

  • Dr. Declan Curran – New Entrants and Inherited Competence – The Evolution of the Irish Biotech Sector;
  • Dr. Seán Ó Riordain – Placing Local Government at the Heart of Economic Renewal;
  • Hilary Murphy – NAMA and the Implications for Local Economic Development;
  • Caoimhe Gavin – The Cornerstones of Cities’ Competitiveness – Laying the Foundations for Future Growth;
  • Odran Reid – Economic Success Without a Lotto Win – Why Local and Regional Economic Strategies are Essential;
  • Dr. Andrew Moore – Enterprises Zones: The English Experience and Lessons for Ireland;
  • Lorna Maxwell – The Changing Role of City Administration in an Increasingly Urban World;
  • Dr. Deiric Ó Broin and Professor David Jacobson – Irish Industrial Policy and Economic Clusters: An Analysis of The Green Way – Dublin’s Cleantech Cluster;
  • PJ Howell – Local Government and Enterprise Support in Fingal.


The 2010 Martin McEvoy Annual Seminar Series examined the area of community and citizen participation in Irish public policy making. The papers were published as an edited volume Politics, Participation and Power – Civil Society and the State in Ireland  and launched by the Ombudsman, Emily O’Reilly in May 2013. The presentations included:

  • Gary Murphy (DCU) – The Evolution of Civil Society Involvement in Irish Public Policy Formulation;
  • Mary Murphy (NUI Maynooth) – Participating in Creating Alternatives: Choices for Public Policy;
  • Matthias Borscheid (Northside Partnership) – The Introduction of Asset-Based Community Development to Ireland;
  • Padraig Murphy (DCU) – An Irish Nanotechnology Citizens’ Jury – Public Participation in Irish Science Policy;
  • Deiric Ó Broin (NorDubCo) – Public Participation and Local Development Policy;
  • Mike Allen (Focus Ireland) – Participation of Organizations Representing Homeless People in Public Policy;
  • Patrick King (Dublin Chamber of Commerce) – Business Representation and Local Public Policy Formulation;
  • Paul Ginnell (EAPN) – The Open Method of Co-ordination on Social Protection and Social Inclusion;
  • Emma O’Brien (BDI, DCU) – Advancing Health Diagnosis – Exploring interactions between Science, Industry and the Public.


The 2009 Martin McEvoy Annual Seminar Series was entitled Social Enterprise, Social Entrepreneurs and Local Economic Development and examined key aspects of social enterprise in Ireland from the perspectives of academic research, operational experience and public policy. The papers are currently being prepared for publication:

  • Emer Ní Bhrádaigh (DCU) – Social Enterprise in the Gaeltacht: Some Insights from a Longitudinal Study;
  • Gordon McConnell (DCU) – Higher Education and Social Enterprise;
  • Deiric Ó Broin (NorDubCo) – Social Enterprise in Ireland: A Mechanism for Developing Sustainable Local Economies?;
  • John Murphy (Speedpak) – Creating More Than Profit – The Challenge of being a Small Social Enterprise;
  • Fiona Descateaux (Ballymun Whitehall Area Partnership) – The 3rd Sector – Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow?;
  • Ann Mallaghan (Galway County Council) – Sustainable Communities beyond the Pale: Reinvention as Innovation – How Communities in the West Survive in Good Times and Bad;
  • Danielle Byrne (Pobal) – Public Policy and Social Enterprise in Ireland;
  • Larry O’Connell (NESC) – Ireland At Another Turning Point;
  • Eoin Gahan (Forfás) – Review of Ireland’s Co-operative Sector: Economic and Social Profile.


The 2008 Annual Seminar Series was entitled Dublin’s Economic Development: Building a Triving and Sustainable City Region. The papers presented at the 2008 Martin McEvoy Annual Seminar Series were published by DCU Press in association with Glasnevin Publishing. Local Dublin/Global Dublin – Public Policy in an Evolving City Region was launched in DCU in October 2010, by the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government John Gormley TD.

  • David Jacobson (Dublin City University) – Is Localisation Possible in the Context of Globalisation?;
  • Henk van der Kamp (Dublin Institute of Technology) – The need for new concepts in spatial development;
  • Edgar Morgonroth (Economic and Social Research Institute) – Estimating the Impacts of Metro North;
  • Izabela Litewska (Ballymun Regeneration Limited) – Local urban initiatives and their role in economic development – an evaluation of the policy inputs based on Irish and Polish approaches;
  • Eoin O’Leary and Declan Jordon (University College Cork) – The University, Innovation and Local Economic Development;
  • Deiric Ó Broin (NorDubCo) – Regional governance and the challenge of managing socio-economic change;
  • Patrick King (Dublin Chamber of Commerce) – Urban or Rural? Decisions on the Destination of Ireland’s Outward Direct Investment;
  • Billy Kelly (Dublin City University) – Metro North: A Locus for Economic Development?


The 2007 Annual Seminar Series examined the role of public particlpation and policy formulation. The papers presented were launched on 6th April 2009 in The Oak Room in the Mansion House, Dawson Street, Dublin 2. The book Power, Dissent and Democracy: Civil Society and the State in Ireland was launched by Eamonn Gilmore TD in the presence of the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Cllr. Eibhlin Byrne.

  • Dr. Deiric Ó Broin and Professor Peadar Kirby
(NorDubCo and DCU) – The development of community-based movements in the late 19th and early 20th century and the establishment of a modern community sector;
  • Brian Harvey – Partition and the development of two divergent Irish community sectors;
  • Dr. Mary Murphy (NUI-Maynooth) – The impact of globalisation on the Irish community sector and the need for a counter movement;
  • John Baker (UCD) – Formal equality versus real equality – Conflicting definitions of equality and their implications for community development;
  • Professor Michael Cronin (DCU) – Active citizenship – meaningful concept or rhetorical ploy?;
  • Clare Farrell – Social capital – a critical approach;
  • Dr. Deiric Ó Broin (NorDubCo) – The institutionalization of social partnership;
  • Professor Fred Powell and Martin Geoghegan (UCC) – The Irish state and community development;
  • Catherine Murray and Paul Rogers
(DCU and Tolka Area Partnership) – Community development in Ireland – a practitioner’s perspective.


As part of our 2006 Annual Seminar Series ‘Local Governance and Economic Development’ the following papers were delivered:

  • Dr. Kevin Heanue (Teagasc) – The role of innovation in Irish local economic development;
  • Dr. Brendan Williams (DIT) – The role of planning and development legislation in Irish local economic development;
  • Professor Seán Ó Riain (NUI-Maynooth) – Public institutions and local economic development.


As part of our 2005 Annual Seminar Series the following papers were delivered:

  • Professor Peadar Kirby and Professor David Jacobson – The globalization of Ireland ‘s society, economy and polity;
  • Dr. Terry McDonough (NUI-Galway) – An analysis of power and inequality in Ireland;
  • Maria Hegarty – Equality proofing local development – emerging practice and challenges;
  • Dr. Mary Murphy (NUI-Maynooth) – Reforming the Irish social security system/welfare state to accommodate change;
  • Dermot McCarthy (Department of the Taoiseach) – Contextualising the state’s response to global influences;
  • John Tierney (Fingal County Council) – The importance of the local in the global context;
  • Professor David Jacobson and Dr. Helen McGrath (DCU) – Localising economic development in North Dublin;
  • Dr. Deiric Ó Broin (NorDubCo) – The democratisation of local governance;
  • Professor Peadar Kirby and Dr. Katherine Zappone
 (DCU) – Bringing social inclusion to the centre stage.

The papers from the 2005 seminar series were published in November 2006 as Taming the Tiger – Social Exclusion in a Globalised Ireland by Tasc/ New Island.

As part of our 2004 Annual Seminar Series the following papers were delivered:

  • Mick Cowman (Trinity Policy Institute) – Integrated planning and delivery of social inclusion at local level: some challenges for Dublin
  • Brendan Bartley (NUI-Maynooth) – Neighbourhood governance and capacity for social integration;
  • Professor David Jacobson (DCU) – Developing the potential economic development role of local government in the Dublin region;
  • Dr. Mary Corcoran (NUI-Maynooth) – Local partnerships and urban regeneration: a European perspective;
  • Professor Peadar Kirby (DCU) – Development, Community and Politics: Establishing the Connections


As part of our 2003 Annual Seminar Series the following papers were delivered:

  • Adele Bergin (ESRI) – The economic context for local development action 2004-2006;
  • Eithne Fitzgerald (NDA) – Developments in social, civic and community development policy 2004-2006;
  • Fidelma Joyce and Carol Sullivan
(CPA and EA) – Issues in poverty and equality proofing local development strategies;
  • Dr. Mary Murphy (DCU) – Key challenges facing the local development sector 2004-2006.


As part of our 2002 Annual Seminar Series the following papers were delivered:

  • Dr. Brendan Williams (DIT) – Urban economics and development concepts: their role in local economic development;
  • Dr. Brendan Williams and Patrick Sheils (DIT) – The implications of recent planning changes for the development of new and existing residential and mixed-use areas;
  • Henk van der Kamp (DIT) – The Planning and Development Act 2002: a new framework for planning concepts and principles;
  • Dr. Brendan Williams and Henk van der Kamp (DIT) – The Development Contribution Scheme: a new tool for financing of infrastructure;
  • Henk van der Kamp (DIT) – Urban Development and Affordable Housing;
  • Dr. Brendan Williams (DIT) – Land Use and Transport Planning.


Occasional Conferences and Seminars

The following conferences were held as part of NorDubCo Public Dialogue Programme. Each seminar or conference was organised to address a particular policy area and to facilitate dialogue around that specific topic. These events offer an opportunity for students and experts to learn from some of North Dublin’s prominent civic, business and academic leaders.

Risk Management – An Introductory Seminar for Community-Based Organisations in North Dublin (21st August, 29 August and 7th November 2013)

The seminar examined the key components of the risk management cycle and the potential implications for civil society organisations.

Web Development using Open Source Software – An Introductory Seminar for Community-Based Organisations in North Dublin (22nd October 2013)

The seminar introduced participants to the fundamentals of developing a web presence using WordPress, an open source content management system.

Putting People First: Local Government Reform in Ireland (7th November 2012)

The seminar examined the recently published ‘Putting People First: Action Programme for Effective Local Government’. Contributors included Dr. Seán Ó Riordáin and Dr, Deiric Ó Broin.

Foresight and Public Policy (28th August 2008)

The seminar examined the potential offered by foresight methodologies in strategic planning processes. The contributors included Dr. Eoin Gahan (Forfás), Dr. Mark Callanan (the Institute of Public Administration), Professor Ronnie Munck (Dublin City University) and Dr. Larry O’Connell (the National Economic and Social Development Office).

Urban Politics in Ireland: Reflections on Theory and Practice (6th June 2007)

The conference was organized by the Journal of Irish Urban Studies and the Urban Politics Specialist Group of the Political Studies Association of Ireland and examined recent developments in urban policy, citizenship and urban politics. The primary contributors were Dr. Mary Murphy, David Bourke, Rhona Henderson and Dr. Deiric Ó Broin.

Creative Activities and the Urban Regeneration Process (21st June 2006).

The seminar examined the potential offered by public investment in creative activities to embed the process of community regeneration alongside that of physical redevelopment. Particular attention was paid to the experience of such initiatives in the EU. The primary contributor was Rhona Henderson.

Local Governance and the ongoing Cohesion Process in Dublin (5th April 2006)

The seminar examined the new arrangements for local economic and social development in the region and discussed possible models of interaction between local development agencies and local government. The primary contributors were Dr. Mary Murphy and Dr. Deiric Ó Broin.

Developing Accelerated Skills Programmes in North Dublin (11th April 2005)

The seminar examined the potential for an accelerated skills development programme for entry-level positions (such as process technicians) in the bio-pharmaceutical and pharmaceutical industry. Particular attention was paid to improving the employability of individuals who would otherwise not have the knowledge or skills to take up these positions in the industry. The primary contributors were Pauline Logan (NorDubCo) and Paddy Morgan (FÁS).

Assessing the Development Potential of Publicly-owned Land in North Dublin (23rd May 2002)

The seminar reviewed recent policy changes in spatial planning, in particular the recognition of the need for more sustainable forms of development. The seminar proposed a series of policy recommendations in the context of Ireland’s recent economic growth and the potential opportunities local communities arising from the poor use of existing land. The primary contributors were Dr. Brendan Williams and Patrick Shiels (DIT).

Social and affordable housing in Ireland and the impact of the Planning and Development Act, 2000 (28th February 2002)

The seminar reviewed the background to the legislation, the key changes it engendered and the likely consequences. Particular attention was paid to the social and affordable housing provisions of Part V of the legislation and their likely impact on development in North Dublin . The primary contributors were Dr. Brendan Williams and Hendrick Van Der Kamp (DIT).

Freedom of Information and the Local Development Sector (20th June 2001)

The seminar is to provide an introduction to the Freedom of Information Act and its application and role in the local development sector. Particular attention was paid to the legislation’s impact on Community Development Projects, Local Employment Services, Area-Based Partnerships and ADM-funded community groups. The primary contributor was Eithne Fitzgerald (UCD).

North Dublin Skills and Employment Roundtable (22nd May 2001)

The roundtable brought together employers, providers of training and education, and representatives of government departments and agencies to discuss the skills challenges facing employers in the region and to identify initiatives that could be pursued to improve provision of training and education in the region, in the light of these challenges. The primary objective of the roundtable was to guarantee that future skills provision in North Dublin is more effectively tailored to the needs of employers and communities in the region. The event focussed on the challenges facing three sectors in planning for and meeting their skills needs: the information and communications technologies, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, and small and medium-sized companies. Speakers included: Pat Walsh (PLATO North Dublin), Mike Devane (Lucent Technologies), Muireann Ni Dhuigneáin (Director of Careers and Appointments, DCU), Peter Sheils (Bristol Myers Squibb), Tom Doyle (IT – Blanchardstown) and Dr. Barry McMullan (Director of Teaching and Learning, DCU).

Transport Provision in North Dublin (21st September 2000)

The conference examined the existing and proposed transport provision in North Dublin in the context of the region’s current and expected needs. Speakers included: Eoin Keegan (Director of Traffic, Dublin City Council), Martin Harte (Temple Bar Properties), John Henry (Dublin Transportation Office), Liam Kearney (Enterprise Ireland), Brendan Bartley (NUI – Maynooth), Dr. Brendan Williams (DIT), Conor Faughnan (AA), Conor Agnew (IDA) and Professor David Jacobson (DCU Business School).

From Local Development to Social Inclusion (12th April 2000)

The conference reviewed the recent development of social inclusion strategies by Irish local development agencies and other local and national public agencies. Particular attention was paid to an analysis of good practice, both national and international, and the development of locally appropriate approaches and methodologies to address issues of social inclusion. Speakers included: Peadar Kirby (DCU), Niall Watters (Co-operation Fingal), Maria Hegarty (EU INTEGRA Programme), Eithne Fitzgerald (UCD) and Senan Turnbull (Director, Fingal Development Board).

Developing a Learning Network in North Dublin (27th May 1999)

The conference examined the experiences of other regions and their attempts to establish and sustain learning networks. Particular attention was paid to the Irish policy framework, especially the development of learning and innovative ways to access learning outlined in the White Paper on Adult Education. Speakers included: Stephanie Young (Director of Lifelong Learning, Glasgow Development Agency), Fiona Hartley (County Dublin VEC), Josephine Boland (National Qualifications Authority of Ireland), Andy Pollack (Irish Times), Mike Egan (Director of Lifelong Learning, DCU), Padraig O’Grady (IBEC), Odran Reid (NorDubCo) and Carmel Mulcahy (DCU).

Developing of an Environmental Strategy for North Dublin (29th April 1999)

The conference was the culmination of a substantial consultation process involving local and national public agencies on the key issues for the physical environment in North Dublin . The conference examined contributions from leading experts in regional economics, land use, transport, urban design and local identity on the key policy developments necessary to improve the region. Speakers included: Professor John Fitzgerald (ESRI), Dr. Brendan Williams (DIT), David Pritchard (McCormac Jamieson Pritchard), Professor Robert Tregay (Landscape Design Associates), Robert Camlin (Camlin Lonsdale Landscape Architects), Senan Turnbull (National Co-ordinator, Integrated Services Project), Suzanne Murray (Brady Shipman Martin) and Joe Davis (DIT).

North Dublin Development Conference (24th September 1998)

The conference examined the critical mass of development taking place in the North Dublin region including the ongoing industrial development along the M50 and the regeneration of Ballymun. Particular attention was paid to the socio-economic challenges and opportunities facing the region and what lessons could be learned from regeneration processes in Boston and Seville . Speakers included: Ciarán Murray (Managing Director, Ballymun Regeneration Limited), Willie Soffe (Fingal County Manager), Dr. Michael Woods TD (Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources), Tom O’Brien (Director, Boston Redevelopment Agency), John Fitzgerald (Dublin City Manager), Andres Salazar Leo (Seville City Council), Alicia Dominguez Nunez (Seville City Council), John Travers (Chief Executive, Forfás), Dermot McCarthy (Secretary General, Department of the Taoiseach) and Mary Harney TD (Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment).

Towards a Strategy for North Dublin (28th November 1996)

The primary function of the conference was to launch NorDubCo and to present an overview of the possibilities and issues facing the North Dublin region. Speakers included: Richard Bruton TD (Minister for Enterprise , Trade and Employment), Chris O’Malley (Director of Strategic Planning, DCU), John Fitzgerald (Dublin City Manager), Dermot Pierce (Developer of East Point Industrial Park) and Professor Peter Rollins ( Boston College Business School ).

Policy briefings

Policy briefings and papers are delivered to regional stakeholders on a regular basis. After short presentations from the speaker or panel, participants are able to discuss policy issues with the presenters during ample question-and-answer sessions. The following edited list provides an overview of the policy areas NorDubCo focuses on:

Developments in Irish regional and local policy: 1991 – 2004 (14th July 2004).

The potential for accelerated skills development programmes in North Dublin (25th March 2004).

Promoting knowledge-based regeneration in North Dublin (24th January 2004).

The development and evolution of local governance structures in Dublin City and County Fingal (25th May 2003).

Knowledge-based development in North Dublin and the likely consequences for employment (30th April 2003).

Social and economic factors in fast growing suburbs (7th December 2001).

New institutional arrangements for land use and transport in the Greater Dublin Area (17th May 2001).

The development of co-ordinated regional development strategies (14th January 2000).