The Government has today published the National Risk Assessment 2019, setting out the most significant risks facing the country in 2019. The Report includes a range of economic, geopolitical, environmental, social, and technological risks with Brexit, Climate Change & Biodiversity, and International Trade Tensions again featuring strongly this year.
The Report was developed with input from the public through a public consultation, which saw more than 650 submissions received from organisations, civil society groups and members of the public. The majority of the submissions confirmed that the risks identified in the Report are the correct ones, with Climate Change & Biodiversity emerging very strongly as the most important risk for the public, in terms of priority.
The final Report reflects changes to the narrative informing the risks on foot of the public consultation, including a change to the title of one of the Economic risks from ‘Loss of Competitiveness’ to ‘Risk of Overheating’ reflecting the risk that the economy could be approaching a point of overheating, in addition to risks to our competitiveness.
This year’s Report also includes a stronger focus on the potential risk of a no-deal Brexit and the impact that could have on the Irish economy and on stability in Northern Ireland, as well as risks from emerging spending pressures which must be closely monitored and controlled, to ensure that our public finances remain sustainable and stable.
In addition, risks arising from perceived rural and regional imbalances, the capacity of the Higher and Further Education system, and skilled labour shortages in the economy are also discussed under the Social Risks category.
For some of the risks which were present in previous years, greater public awareness and an increased sense of urgency and responsiveness can be felt this year, as for example in the case of ‘Climate Change & Biodiversity’, ‘Cyber-Security’, and the ‘Impact of Social Media on Public Debate’.
A short thematic piece is also included, which takes a deeper look at one of the risks, ‘An Ageing Population including pensions and health system challenges’ and details the impacts that Ireland’s ageing population will have across a range of sectors, including pensions, healthcare, education, and housing, as well as potential impacts for the public finances and productivity levels.
The first National Risk Assessment was published in 2014, and since then it has highlighted a number of important issues, including the earliest official acknowledgments of the risks arising from a potential Brexit, and risks in the housing sector.
Through this annual collaborative exercise, we continue to promote discussion and awareness of the most important strategic risks facing Ireland, and the 2019 Report provides an important context for Departments and Agencies to develop the necessary mitigating actions, as appropriate.
The final National Risk Assessment 2019 is available here.