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Draft National Risk Assessment 2016 – Overview of Strategic Risks


The Government has today published the draft National Risk Assessment 2016 – Overview of Strategic Risks.
This sets out a draft list of strategic risks, both financial and non-financial, which Ireland faces, with a view to stimulating public debate on those risks and what are the appropriate responses.

The Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, said that 'as Ireland is a small island nation exposed to global trends and forces, gains can quickly dissipate unless risks are openly acknowledged and addressed'.

The draft list of risks has been prepared following collaboration across Government Departments.
Risks have been classified under the following headings: (i) economic, (ii) environmental, (iii) geo-political, (iv) social, and (v) technological.

This is the third year a National Risk Assessment (NRA) has been prepared, and the draft list reflects some changes in the national and international context since last year.

Despite some concerns over the prospects for global economic growth, the Irish economy experienced strong growth in 2015 leading to a reduction in unemployment and a strengthening fiscal position.

Improving economic fortunes have thrown up several significant challenges. Perhaps the most important relates to addressing the housing shortage and homelessness as well as the importance of maintaining our infrastructure.

In relation to the international environment, Ireland is largely dependent on growth in the international environment so any impact on such growth represents a serious risk for Ireland.

Since the NRA was published last year, a date has been set for UK's referendum on membership of the European Union. Given the level of inter-connectedness between the two countries, the risks of a 'Brexit' are clear.

Another geo-political risk which has become more prominent since 2015 is that of terrorism. Domestically the threat of an attack related to international terrorism is rated as not likely but events in 2015 and early 2016 demonstrate that it is possible.

There are of course many other trends, some of a more gradual nature, which affect an assessment of risks facing the country.

Reflecting these developments, this preliminary analysis of potential risks for 2016 identifies risks that have become more significant, as well as amending other risks from 2015 to reflect changed circumstances. In particular, the following risks can be considered to have greater importance this year:
· Brexit ('Uncertainty over the UK's relationship with the EU')
· Weakening Global Economic Growth
· Infrastructural Deficits
· International Terrorism
· Expenditure Pressures

The Taoiseach has stated that the 'the Draft National Risk Assessment 2016 sets out these and other risks for public consultation. They are complex and demand a considered policy response. By being open about these risks, we hope we can have a mature debate about these challenges and their implications for Ireland'.

Submissions on the draft list of risks identified are being sought and can be made to nra@taoiseach.gov.ie by Friday 8th July. These can respond to a number of questions listed in the document, including nomination of additional strategic risks warranting inclusion.

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