Veteran economist Joe Durkan (68) is returning to the official Irish economic forecasting field, rejoining the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) as a co-author of its prominent Irish economic quarterly forecasts.

He fills the vacancy created as Alan Barrett joins TCD on secondment from the ESRI as head of TILDA, the country's prestigious ageing and health research project.

In the course of a career spanning over four decades, Durkan worked for Nigeria's civil service on the country's reconstruction plan. This experience, he told the Sunday Tribune, will likely help him as he considers economic prescriptions for Ireland's "economic mess".

He worked at the ESRI between 1969 and 1983 before joining DKM Consultants with economists Colm McCarthy and Robbie Kelleher. His career also included work at NCB Stockbrokers and Coopers & Lybrand. He has taught economics at UCD since 1989.

The ESRI said that Durkan would start at the organisation this week, joining the quarterly commentary team at the institute, and working with Ide Kearney and Cormac O'Sullivan.