Professor Caroline McMullan led a research team of DCU Business School academics who worked on the completion of the Irish Government’s third National Risk Assessment (NRA), launched in March 2021. Professor McMullan was the architect of the NRA methodology when the first cycle was completed in 2013 and continues to shape the theoretical framework on which the process is built.

The purpose of the National Risk Assessment is to identify the key risks facing the State, to assess the likelihood and impact of these risks and to inform actions at a national level aimed at mitigating such risks. It provides a basis for establishing priorities with regard to risk mitigation at national level and to inform Government decisions regarding resource allocation. It replaces the National Risk Assessment for Ireland 2017.

Compared to the previous assessment produced in 2017, this NRA includes four new areas of consideration proposed by the EU: low probability high impact risks; a climate change trajectory, cross-border risks, emerging risks. In addition, the results from a Household Emergency Preparedness Survey conducted by Professor McMullan, Dr Gavin Brown and Dr Ann Largey from DCU Business School were included for the first time. This assessment of public risk perception builds a greater understanding of risk in Ireland and helps enhance the communication of the NRA process, increasing risk awareness across the nation.

Professor McMullan commented

“We were delighted to assist with the delivery of the NRA (2020). Participating in this critical project allows us to make a meaningful contribution to the DCU mission to transform lives and societies. The NRA will shape risk management at a national level and help us deliver some vital elements of our EU risk-related responsibilities.”


The Strategic Emergency Management National Structures and Framework and the associated Annexes was approved by Government on 26 July 2017. It identifies 50 different emergency/incident types across a range of Lead Government Departments. It provides the basis for the National-level strategic emergency management and the supports required should such emergencies occur where a national-level response is warranted. Emergencies should be dealt with locally wherever possible. The Major Emergency Management Framework prepared by the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government guides the local and regional responses and inputs into the National-level responses.

The Government Task Force on Emergency Planning, which is chaired by the Minister for Defence, includes senior representatives from all Government Departments and Agencies. It is responsible for the oversight and coordination of national-level emergency management. Responsibility for the response to an actual emergency remains with the Lead Government Department identified in Annex A of the Strategic Emergency Management National Structures and Framework.

Read more about Caroline McMullan’s research profile and interests

Find out more about the National Risk Assessment 202o here