President raises a toast to TK's creation
THE man regarded as the architect of the modern Irish economy yesterday sat down to tea with some of the economists who are helping to chart the country's passage through its current economic crisis.
Almost a decade ago, Dr TK Whitaker (93) was named as the 'Greatest Living Irish Person' at the People of the Year Awards.
Yesterday, as Dr Whitaker joined in celebrations at Aras an Uachtarain to mark the 50th anniversary of the government think-tank, the Economic and Social Research Institute, ESRI director Frances Ruane said Ireland had weathered the worst of the downturn.
But she warned that the speed at which the country recovered would depend on what happened on the international stage.
"There is still a huge amount of uncertainty out there but we have survived a very difficult year and the Government made a courageous decision in tackling the problems that are there," Professor Ruane said.
"There is every reason to be optimistic that we will get through this.
"There are still challenges out there but there is reason to believe, if you are willing to take the tough steps," she added.
Yesterday, as she praised the ESRI, President McAleese said it had been an extraordinary half century. "Back in 1960, years before the advent of free second-level education, could anyone, even in the ESRI, have predicted how far we would have travelled as a country by 2010?
"Throughout these 50 years, you have delivered rigorous, world-class research that has influenced policy, provoked discussion and debate and helped inform the decisions that have shaped the Ireland and Europe that we live in today," she said.