This website contains information and research on Public Private Partnerships, Privatisation, Public Services, Infrastructure, the nature of the Irish State, and neoliberalism, in Ireland. Its focus is the areas of social housing regeneration, schools, roads, waste water and other PPPs introduced in Ireland. It is compiled by Dr Rory Hearne. Contact email@example.com
In the PPP sections on this website you can read updated articles relating to PPP developments from various publications
Across a variety of sectors, PPPs, since their inception in Ireland in 1998, have not consistently provided the much lauded benefits put forward by their promoters, such as improved value for money and, in some instances, higher quality services. PPPs are a form of privatisation. They involve the private sector developing, controlling and operating new public infrastructure and services.
It should be noted that PPPs have provided some good quality services and innovation in, for example, the light rail service in Dublin's inner city (LUAS), some schools, and the Fatima Regeneration project.
However, their downsides also require investigation and highlighting. They have been very complicated forms of services and infrastructure delivery. The private sector’s profit-maximisation requirement, as played out through the private partners (and notably private multinational service providers) involved in PPPs, introduced, in some cases, fundamental conflicts of interest with social objectives in public service and infrastructure delivery. For example, PPPs had negative impacts on inequality and poverty. These included reducing the quality, accessibility and availability of public services. Vital services such as social-housing regeneration became dependent on the private market which meant they were not delivered at the point of great need for those services. PPPs introduced commercial values that replaced the planning of social needs with market forces.
PPPs are a relatively new form of delivery of public services and their experience to date suggests that their implementation should be approached with considerable caution with focus placed by public sector agencies on investigating possible public sector or non-commercial third sector alternatives. They should also thoroughly investigate value for money will be achieved, ensure private sector delivery abides by contract specifications, and monitor to ensure employee conditions are maintained.
Forthcoming book by Dr Rory Hearne:
Public Private Partnerships in Ireland: Failed Experiment or Way Forward
to be published by Manchester University Press. Expected publication date: October 2011
This book is being published by Manchester University Press in September 2011 as part of the Irish Social Sciences Platform series ‘'Irish Society'. The book provides a ground breaking and unique analysis of the development of PPPs and privatisation in Ireland. It provides considerable practical lessons from individual PPP projects, ideas for public sector reform and third-sector alternatives.
The book investigates the impacts of national and global policies of privatisation and neoliberalism and details the extensive qualitative and quantitative empirical analysis of primary and secondary data that I gathered in relation to case studies of PPP Projects in Ireland. The Projects included social-housing regeneration projects, schools, courts buildings, water/waste water treatment plants, hospitals, toll roads, light rail and other public infrastructure and services.
The theoretical framework was provided from research in the subject areas of urban geography, political economy, economics, social policy, politics and public administration. The research evaluates the realignment of the state under the current phase of neoliberalism (late 1970s to present) and the changing nature of public policymaking as evidenced through the experiences of privatisation policies, in particular PPPs, in Ireland.
In the Publications,Papers,Articles Page you can read detailed articles and papers I have written on PPPs. These include:
Hearne, R (2009) Origins, Development and Outcomes of Public Private Partnerships in Ireland: The Case of PPPs in Social Housing Regeneration, in Combat Poverty Agency Working Paper Series 09/07, November 2009
This paper explores the origins and development of PPPs in the delivery of public services and infrastructure internationally and in Ireland, where they were introduced on a pilot basis in June 1999. It contextualises PPPs within the broader process of privatisation and neoliberalism. It provides a critical analysis from the literature of both the benefits and more recent criticisms of PPPs in practice. It outlines the extent to which the development and outcomes of PPPs in Ireland mirror the international experience of PPPs. Using the social housing sector as a case study, this paper presents important findings for public policy in relation to the delivery of public services and infrastructure generally, given the dearth of existing empirical evidence relating to PPPs. The understanding of PPPs in Ireland presented in the paper provides both an insight into the contemporary nature of Irish public policy in this area and evidence of the increasing role of the private sector and neoliberal perspectives in Irish public service policy formation generally.
Hearne, R (2006) Neoliberalism, Public Services and PPPs in Ireland, in Progress in Irish Urban Studies, Vol 2, 2006, 1-14.
Hearne, R. (2007) Neoliberalism in Public Services: a case study of public-private partnerships in Irish Schools, Journal of Irish Urban Studies, Vol 6, 2007 pp 55-72