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Dr Chris Mcinerney



Chris McInerney, BA, MSc (Bradford) PhD (Limerick), is a lecturer public administration. His primary research interests focus on the interactions between the concepts, practices and processes of governance and social inclusion / exclusion, participatory democracy, the role of civil society in social change and the role of public administration in promoting social justice and social equity. He has published chapters and reports on governance, local and community development and has previously worked in a variety of civil society and international organisations.


Research Interests


My research interests may be broadly divided into:

i. Public Administration Praxis, essentially the overlap between public administration theory and practice, integrates my prior professional experiences and my academic interests in the field of public administration.  I am currently developing this research in a number of settings.  For example,   I have been involved in a project with Ennis Town Council to develop a participatory strategy for the town to 2020 within the context of the National Spatial Strategy (NSS) .  My work within this setting is complemented by parallel research undertaken on community engagement in other urban settings.  Together, these research activities will provide valuable insights into the capacity of local level public administration systems to engage citizens in public policy processes and the types of institutional challenges that emerge as a result. 

ii. Public Administration and social justice is a second, significant area of ongoing research.  I have recently published a single authored book on this theme which looks at social justice as a challenge for public administration and at ways in which public administration might be supported to play a more proactive role in promoting and protecting social justice objectives.

iii. A third area of ongoing research interest is that of state-civil society relations.  On this theme I am exploring the proposal that independent civil society capacity in Ireland and elsewhere is being gradually eroded , to the point where democratic integrity may be open to question and stress.

iv. Fourthly, as a lead member of the team which secured funding from the HEA/Irish Aid Programme of Strategic Co-operation to work with partner universities in Tanzania, Uganda and South Africa, I will be active in research on public administration systems in an African context.  We are currently exploring a new collaboration in the area of collaborative local development processs.

v. Finally, I am also currently undertaking research on the use of Problem Based Learning as an approach to teaching politics. This is being done via the development of a PBL laboratory i.e. a series of explorations of PBL in different politics modules, both at undergraduate and postgraduate levels followed by robust evaluation of these explorations.


Teaching Interests


My main teaching interests are in the thematic areas of public administration, applied social justice and civic engagement.  As well as being the course director for the BA Politics and Public Administration, I am currently teaching three undergraduate modules and one postgraduate module

Undergraduate Modules
PA4012 Para governmental Organizations
PL4013 Community Development
PA4022 Introduction to Public Administration 2
PA 4017 Sub national Government in Europe 

Post Graduate
PO5182 Development Practice and Programme Management

In the next academic year (2018/19) I will teach  two new modules 

PA4003 Issues and concepts in development (UG) and
PA (code to be confirmed) Collaborative Governance and Leadership

I also have a strong interest in exploring different ways to teach politics and public administration and have for a number of years incorporated Problem Based Learning (PBL)  and simulations in my teaching activities. 


Professional Activities


  • 2012 Student Status Committee,
  • 2011 PPA Departmental Teaching Committee,


  • 2011 Member., Political Science Association of Ireland.
  • 2011 Member., American Society for Public Administration.
  • 2011 Member., International Political Science Association.


  • 2011 University of Limerick - Lecturer (Current)
  • 2010 University of Limerick - Postdoctoral Research Fellow 2010-2011
  • 2008 Tipperary Institute (Now LIT Tipperary) - Lecturer 2008-2010
  • 2001 United Nations Development Programme, East Timor - Civil Society / Civic Education Manager 2001-2003
  • 1994 Agecncy for Personal Services Overseas - Co-ordinator, Election Observer Group, South Africa 1994
  • 1994 Community Workers' Co-operative (CWC), Ireland - National Co-ordinator 1994-2001
  • 1991 Developing the West Together - Executive Secretary 1991-1994
  • 1988 Trocaire, The Irish Catholic Agency for Overseas Development - Southern Africa Project Officer


  • 2009 University of Limerick - PhD
  • 1987 University of Bradford, UK - MSc
  • 1985 NIHE / University of Limerick - BA European Studies


  • In the first half of 2012 I was involved in supporting a major public engagement exercise around the future of Limerick City Centre and the so called ‘Opera Centre’ site, in conjunction with masters students. The report from this exercise was presented to Limerick City Councillors and officials in early June, 2012.
  • Since 2011 have supported a two stage process in the development of a Strategy for Ennis as a Hub Town under the National Spatial Strategy, in partnership with Ennis town Council.  The first involved working with two groups of masters students from UL in the planning and delivery of a community visioning exercise.  The second and more recent stage involved the facilitation of Town and County Council staff and other civil society partners in the finalisaton of the Hub Strategy.  This partnership will continue to provide civic engagement opportunities for students over the coming years


  • French



Book Chapter


Participation in Public Policy
McInerney Chris
Power Policy and Democracy: Participation in Public policy in Ireland


Expanding the Role of the University in Promoting Civic Engagement
McInerney, Chris
Citizens Voices: Experiments in Democratic Renewal and Reform


Social Partnership in Ireland, Diluting or Deepening Democracy
McInerney, Chris
Nation-States in Transformation: Economic Globalisation, International Mediation and Political Values


Community Development: Visions of Social Change or Social Control
McInerney, Chris
Theorising Youth and Community Work in Ireland: Critical Perspectives

Conference Contribution


Facilitate PBL Conference
McInerney, Chris; Adshead, Maura; NíShé, Eidin; Deverell, Andrea.


Teagasc Irish Rural Studies Symposium
McInerney, Chris; Lynch, Kieran; Keating, Paul.

Other Journal

Other Publication


Planning Beyond Recession - Ennis 2020
McInerney Chris with Ennis Town Council

Peer Reviewed Journal

Published Report