In order to examine developments in the organization and administration of the
welfare state, where institutions refer not only to political structures and
organisations but also to decision-making patterns and more broadly based views of
state development, we require some means of conceptualising the state that is
flexible enough to encompass these features yet at the same time concrete enough to
give some kind of analytical clarity. This study uses the regime templates provided
by Esping-Andersens (1990) characterisation of contemporary welfare states in
order to classify the Irish state and chart its evolution.