ESRI January 2023 Newsletter

Our first report of 2023 was timely given ongoing headlines about pressures in the healthcare system. In Extending eligibility for general practitioner care in Ireland: cost implications, my colleagues found that extending free GP care to all in 2026 would cost the State between €381 million and €881 million. The report also points out that we may not have enough GPs available to deliver services to all on a no-fee basis. This was another significant addition to the ESRI’s work on future healthcare needs for Ireland.  

A research bulletin on gambling habits and young people notes that while offline gambling had declined with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a substantial rise in internet gambling. Worryingly, the study found an almost four-fold increase in engagement in online gambling among young people in Ireland, predominantly men, between the ages of 17/18 and 20 years. Participation in team sports is strongly associated with regular gambling as well as online gambling. You can read the publication which outlines potential policy-based solutions, such as programmes in community and education settings, below.

We also published a report on non-Irish nationals’ working conditions in Ireland. A ‘migrant wage gap’ is present and varies depending on country of origin and gender. The report suggests some ways to address these issues. Increased membership of trade unions could benefit migrant wages. The authors also drew on previous research that shows that English language skills are clearly related to job quality. Targeted English language training for those in need may also address wage gaps.

On Monday, we launched the latest report in our Shared Island series. Early childhood education and care in Ireland and Northern Ireland compares early childhood education and care (ECEC) in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Among the main findings are that Ireland has more reliance on formal childcare provision than Northern Ireland and that there are higher levels of part-time work by mothers of young children in Northern Ireland. The authors conclude that in both systems, the level of spending on young children could be increased in line with that of other wealthy countries.

It has been a great start to the year for us, and I look forward to keeping you informed of our work over the coming year. 


Professor Alan Barrett