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Festival of Learning

Strengthening prevention in policy


The case for prevention and early intervention has been well made in Ireland and around the world. If we know that prevention is better than cure, then how can policy makers do more of it? Research in Ireland and internationally identifies the challenges for policy makers. Many approaches have been tried and tested in different countries, and similar themes emerge from these experiences.

In his latest book, Professor Paul Cairney presents new research and insights based on extensive interviews with policy makers and analysis of policy documents. During this event he will talk about some of the challenges identified by policy makers when tasked with designing and implementing policy based on prevention and early intervention. We’ll hear from experienced policy makers in Ireland and Estonia and consider how to harness the optimism about prevention and early intervention and translate it into action.

Event details

This event takes place online, on Thursday November 5th, between 12 and 1pm.

Attendance is free, but booking is essential.

Tune in here

Moderator & Panel Contributors


Professor Paul Cairney will give the opening keynote. Paul is Professor of Politics and Public Policy at the University of Stirling and has written extensively about evidence based policy and his most recent book, written with Emily St Denny and published earlier this year is ‘Why isn’t government policy more preventive?’

Panel contributors include Barbara Haage from the Estonian Social Insurance Board, Liz Canavan from the Department of the Taoiseach and Fiachra Kennedy, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

This event will be moderated by Conor Rowley. Conor is Assistant Secretary at the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, in the Child Policy and Tusla Governance Division.

Programme of Events

Championing prevention and early intervention in Government


Tuesday November 3rd

What can the government do to support prevention and early intervention? Join keynote speaker Dr Patrick McCarthy (former President, Annie E. Casey Foundation) and a panel including Conor Rowley (Assistant Secretary, DCYA) and Dr Aisling Gillen (Tusla), to hear about how the state has championed prevention and early intervention in Ireland.

Strengthening prevention in policy


Thursday November 5th

If prevention is better than cure, then how can we do more of it? In his keynote, Professor Paul Cairney (University of Stirling) will share findings from extensive interviews with policy makers in Scotland and the UK. We’ll hear from experienced policy makers in Estonia and Ireland.

What is the role of entrepreneurial thinking in social service settings, and how can we enhance it?

Rowan Conway

Monday November 9th

Entrepreneurs and innovators can bring creative thinking and new approaches to some of the biggest challenges in public services. Join keynote Rowan Conway (UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose) to hear about the public entrepreneur along with stories of innovative thinking from Ireland and the US.

Artificial Intelligence – all in for the future of our children

Alexa Hasse

Wednesday November 11th

There is increasing interest in Artificial Intelligence, but what does it mean for the wellbeing and lives of future children and young people in Ireland? Keynote contributor Alexa Hasse from the Berkman Klein Centre at Harvard University will unpack the jargon. A panel of speakers will consider the ethical questions, and we’ll hear practical examples of how AI can be used to improve outcomes for children and young people.