Thesis Working Title

Delivering School Infrastructure through Public-Private Partnerships: Evaluating Ireland’s Experience

Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) are a type of long-term contractual arrangement entered into by a private entity (business) and a public entity (national or local authority) with the expressed purpose of providing physical infrastructure, infrastructure services, or both. It is closely related to the concept of privatisation, as it seeks to utilise the market and the profit motive of firms to deliver services previously provided by the state. Ireland has almost two decades of experience using public-private partnerships (PPPs) for the procurement of social infrastructure such as schools, courthouses, and health facilities. This research focuses on Ireland’s schools sector where 27 school buildings with an estimated capital value of €500 million have been procured via PPP to date. Advocates of PPPs argue that they can deliver public infrastructure more efficiently than traditional procurement through timelier completion and superior value for money. Despite these claims, there is a lack of research which has produced a wide variance of results. The objective of this research is to examine the Irish experience with PPP infrastructure in the education sector, with a particular focus on the performance and governance of these infrastructure contracts and the procurement method in general.


O’Shea, C., Palcic, D. and Reeves, E., (2019). Comparing PPP with traditional procurement: The case of schools procurement in Ireland. Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics90(2), pp.245-267.

O’Shea, C., Palcic, D. and Reeves, E., (2020). Using PPP to Procure Social Infrastructure: Lessons From 20 Years of Experience in Ireland. Public Works Management & Policy, p.1087724X19899100.