ESRI Governance

The ESRI Council

The Institute’s statutory ruling body is the ESRI Council, currently comprising 8 members including the Director (Alan Barrett) and Chairperson (Sean O'Driscoll). ESRI Council members are elected at the Institute’s AGM for a three year term. They represent a cross-section of ESRI members: academia, civil services, state agencies, business and civil society.

Current ESRI Council Members

  • Sean O'Driscoll, Chairperson
  • Alan Barrett, Director
  • Gabriel Makhlouf, Central Bank of Ireland
  • David Moloney, Assistant Secretary of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform
  • Ronan Murphy, former PwC, current board member of Davy, ICON PLC and Greencoat Renewables PLC
  • Rowena Pecchenino, Department of Economics, Maynooth University
  • Orlaigh Quinn, Secretary General of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation
  • Pat Rabbitte, former Minister and former leader of the Labour Party, and Chairperson of Tusla – Child and Family Agency

The Institute enjoys full academic independence and is answerable ultimately to its subscribing members, currently over 300 companies and individuals. The Council is the effective board of directors of the Institute. Council meetings are attended by the Company Secretary and two representatives of the Management Committee in a non-voting capacity. Apart from the Director of the Institute, who is an ex-officio member, ESRI Council members are not remunerated. 

The ESRI Council’s Code of Conduct is available here.


Statement of Independence

The ESRI is Ireland’s leading not-for-profit economic and social policy research institute. We are fully independent and our work is free of any expressed ideology or political position.

The ESRI’s independence and objectivity is based on the quality of its research and the requirement for reports to meet high academic standards through peer review.

The ESRI is committed to publish all research reaching the appropriate academic standard, irrespective of its findings or who funds the research. ESRI research is thus open to public scrutiny.

From its foundation in 1960 the Institute’s role has been to provide a strong, independent source of research evidence for policy and civil society in Ireland. Its mandate was that it would be funded by government and yet independent of government. This independence means that researchers have no fear of publishing research findings that do not provide support for government policy. Great care was taken to protect the Institute’s independence in setting up and revising the Institute’s governance structures over the years. Independence, objectivity and excellence remain core values of the ESRI and its researchers.

What is the legal status of the ESRI?

The Economic and Social Research Institute is a company limited by guarantee, incorporated in 1960 under the Companies Acts 1908-1959 and registered in Ireland under registration number 18269. The registered office is Whitaker Square, Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin 2. While the ESRI is a limited liability company it is exempted from the obligation to use the word “limited” as part of its name. It is a not for profit organisation and registered as a charity under registration number CHY5335.

  • The ESRI’s Memorandum and Articles of Association are available here.
  • The procedure for the investigating allegations of scientific misconduct are available here.
  • The ESRI’s Child Safeguarding Statement is available here.
  • The ESRI’s Code of Business Conduct is available here.


What external oversight exists for the ESRI?

Comptroller & Auditor General
The ESRI is audited by the Comptroller & Auditor General and is subject to the rules that apply to state organisations in relation to prompt payments, disclosure, risk management and tax clearance.

Office of the Ombudsman.
Under the terms of the Ombudsman (Amendment) Act 2012, with effect from 1 May 2013, the ESRI is subject to independent oversight by the Office of the Ombudsman.

Ombudsman for Children
From 30 April 2013 the remit of the Ombudsman for Children has been extended and it now covers the ESRI. This remit is for current or future complaints only, and does not cover complaints regarding issues before this date. Complaints should be directed in the first instance to the ESRI. However, if you are a child or young person under 18 or an adult who knows a child whom you feel has been unfairly treated, or you are not satisfied with our decision on your complaint, it is open to you to contact the Ombudsman for Children’s Office. By law the Ombudsman for Children’s Office can investigate complaints about any of our administrative actions or procedures as well as delays or inaction in dealings with us. The Ombudsman for Children provides an impartial, independent and free complaints handling service. Contact details are as follows: Ombudsman for Children’s Office, 52-56 Great Strand St, Dublin 1. Free Phone: 1800 20 20 40.;