The Irish experience with NEPIs has been essentially tentative and disappointing. In particular, there has been a dearth of market-based instruments until very recently, whereas some voluntary instruments have emerged. It is argued that this pattern of change can be explained by reference to a variety of diffuse factors, such as a political-institutional setting which is traditionally cautious towards fiscal reforms, and wider cultural influences. The 'drivers' for what limited NEPIs have emerged, appear to be mainly external, namely the EU and policy transfer from Britain. The Irish case suggests that NEPIs do not offer an easy 'short-cut' towards agreeing a more ambitions environmental policy, and that conventional regulatory tools require careful integration with NEPIs.