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Welcome to the Irish Journal of Public Policy

We are pleased to welcome you to the Irish Journal of Public Policy. We hope that this new academic journal will deepen discussion, analysis, critique and knowledge around public policy as well as bringing fresh voices and perspectives to the fore. This is an open access peer-reviewed journal, which will publish scholarly articles, opinion pieces and book reviews from a range of perspectives within the fields of public policy, politics, political science, government, public administration and public law. Likewise we hope it will appeal to a broad spectrum of readers in academia, the public service, politics and civil society.

This journal is being launched in interesting times. We are at one of the most important and pivotal moments in human history. How we plot our way through the current range of challenges, crises and risks will shape the future of our planet. These challenges include the current financial and international debt crises; climate change; new forms of war, crime and terrorism; health and welfare issues including pandemics, poverty, drugs and diet; migration at unprecedented levels; identity and politics in a cosmopolitan context; fresh water and food for millions of people around the globe; education and electronic access in a knowledge driven world; a massive global population bubble and an ageing time-bomb in developed countries; and increasingly complex and rapidly changing science and technologies with unprecedented potentials for benefits and harm. This list is illustrative not definitive, but it shows us that we need to intellectually engage, reflect on and debate the issues, that we must form opinions and act in considered and decisive ways to create a future with optimistic outcomes. We hope that the contributors and readers of this journal will add to these discussions, bring new and innovative ideas to the fore and contribute to the shaping of the policies of today and tomorrow from a local to a global level.

This journal is organised around a small and dedicated editorial board, which also includes Tom O’Connor, Clodagh Harris, Aodh Quinlivan and Dick Haslam. Sheer resolve has kept the idea afloat from its conception a few years ago, helped in no small way by the determination and drive of Tom O’Connor, who gives a whole new meaning to the concept ‘retired’. We were greatly assisted by Peter Flynn, Manager of the Electronic Publishing Unit, UCC, who advised us at all stages in our proposal and has given us our virtual home. Our administrative and academic colleagues in the Department of Government are very supportive of this project, especially Margaret O’Brien who manages our homepage. The support of the members of our International Board has inspired us to persevere. We are grateful too to the many colleagues who acted as blind reviewers for the various articles submitted.

The journal comes to life in this first issue thanks to the contributors who have submitted a range of quality academic articles, opinion pieces and book reviews. Through their efforts we step into an international community of scholars and practitioners in the hope of making our contribution to the important policy debates of the day.

Its contents are for you as a reader, a member of civil society, a shaper of the present and the future. We hope it is informative, useful and enjoyable.

Séamus Ó Tuama,*