'National treasure' TK Whitaker dies aged 100

TK Whitaker, a former public servant and economist, has died aged 100.

He celebrated his 100th birthday last month.

Born in County Down and raised in Drogheda, he was just 39-years-old when he took over as secretary general at the Department of Finance in 1955.

As head of the Department in the early 1960's, he was credited with helping to modernise the Irish economy, after decades of decline.

He later served as governor of the Central Bank, and a member of Seanad Éireann.

In 2001 the public voted him Irishman of the 20th Century.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said: “TK Whitaker was in every sense a national treasure. He had an innate understanding of our patrimony - what we inherit from our ancestors - our ingenuity, our elegance, our intellect, our artistry, industry and kindness, and how we could put this to work for our country and our people.

“TK Whitaker changed life, lives and generations in Ireland. In the last decades, he more than any other person was responsible for transforming our economy and public life.

“He had a rare vision for our country and its future. He was a gentleman and patriot. Today, as a nation, we mourn the passing of this outstanding man. We celebrate and give thanks for his exemplary achievements on behalf of Ireland.

“In modern Irish history, TK Whitaker is both incomparable and irreplaceable.”

Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, said: "Together with a small team of officials, Whitaker provided a framework that would influence Irish economic policy for decades to come. By promoting free trade and encouraging inward investment, Whitaker’s influence helped to change the Irish economy for the better."

"We remember the man and his family at this time, we also recall the great achievements he has had in public policy and thank him for his contribution to public life in Ireland."

 

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