© 2019, © 2019 Political Studies Association of Ireland. This paper contributes to the analysis of policy making processes in the Irish context. It offers original insights into recent policy changes in Irish activation and social housing policy which, over the period of austerity, were subject to significant institutional reshaping and structural reforms including marketisation. A three I’s framework tracing the interaction of key ideas, institutions and interests isolates dynamics informing the implementation of marketisation in these sectors and allows insights into how policy is shaped by key variables including markets, civil society and international actors. Attention is drawn to the different pathways to, and implementation of, marketisation in the different sectors. Marketisation reforms were largely implemented in PES and activation reforms, but marketisation pathways had different fortunes when it came to meeting social housing need. The paper explores why this is the case and suggests issues of scale and degrees of financialisation are important factors informing different pathways to and experiences of marketisation of social policy, with, in both sectors, important consequences for social policy and human rights. Issues of ideology, centralisation, international f(actors), timing and scale are important variables in shaping different pathways to marketisation with consequences for likelihood of political resistance to such processes.