Monday 1 May 2017

TK Whitaker was a 'true public servant and a family man' archbishop tells mourners

The remains of TK Whitaker are brought by relatives to the Church of the Sacred Heart in Donnybrook.
Pic Steve Humphreys
The remains of TK Whitaker are brought by relatives to the Church of the Sacred Heart in Donnybrook. Pic Steve Humphreys
The late Dr TK Whitaker was honoured as an ‘Irishman of the century’ for his extraordinary work on economic development in Ireland and building cross border relations in the 1960s
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin at the removal mass of TK Whitaker at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Donnybrook. Pic Steve Humphreys
Family and friends attending the removal mass of TK Whitaker at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Donnybrook. Pic Steve Humphreys
Former Tanaiste Mary Harney and husband Brian Geoghegan attending the removal mass of TK Whitaker at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Donnybrook. Pic Steve Humphreys
Minister Katherine Zappone attending the removal mass of TK Whitaker at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Donnybrook. Pic Steve Humphreys
Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan attending the removal mass of TK Whitaker at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Donnybrook. Pic Steve Humphreys
Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh attending the removal mass of TK Whitaker at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Donnybrook. Pic Steve Humphreys
Mary Robinson attending the removal mass of TK Whitaker at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Donnybrook. Pic Steve Humphreys

Alan O'Keeffe

Mourners at the removal of the remains of Dr TK Whitaker today were told he was "a true public servant, a man of integrity, a family man and a Christian."

Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin told the congregation at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Donnybrook in Dublin  that he used his many talents for the good of the Irish people.

Dr Ken Whitaker, a former Secretary of the Department of Finance and former Governor of the Central Bank, was renowned as one of the chief architects of Ireland's successful economy. He died on Monday, aged 100.

His remains were received at the church by Archbishop Martin, parish administrator Monsignor Lorcan O'Brien, his friend Fr Lomán Mac Aodha, his brother-in-law Fr Paschal Moore, and a number of other priests.

Chief mourners were his surviving sons Kenneth, Raymond, David and Brian and a large number of family members, including grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

His son Raymond thanks everyone who attended for their sympathy and support. He said he never heard his father express any motto that guided his life but the well-known prayer of Saint Ignatius would have been suitable which referred to serving without counting the cost and labouring without seeking reward.

A large number of figures from public life attended the removal, including former presidents Mary Robinson and Mary McAleese, former taoiseach Brian Cowen, former tanaiste Mary Harney, and Vice Admiral Mark Mellett, chief of staff of the defence forces.

Also present were former chief executive of the Industrial Development Authority Padraig White, former Governor of the Central Bank Patrick Honohan, John Fitzgerald, former director of the ESRI, former junior minister Joe Costello,  Cathaoirleach  of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Cormac Devlin, and Fr Paul Lavelle, retired parish priest of Kilbarrack.

Also in attendance were Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan, Minister for Children Katherine Zappone, British Ambassador Robin Barnett, SDLP leader Colm Eastwood, Fianna Fail TD Jim O'Callaghan, former junior minister Eithne FitzGerald, and Aisling Nic An tSithigh of Enterprise Ireland.

Archbishop Martin said "He was a true public servant, not just in what he did and in what he achieved, but in who he was.  He was an extremely talented man with an extremely talented intellect.

 "He was a public servant, not by virtue of a title or a profession, but by virtue of his willingness to place his talent at the service of the wider public and the common good – and indeed by doing so with remarkable enthusiasm in an oft cynical and sceptical culture," he said.

"He was a servant not just in the years of his professional life.  He placed his talents at the disposal of many aspects of life and society and indeed within the Church.

 "He was a public servant not in the sense of that distinction we sometimes make between public and private.  He was a servant of the public good, the common good. 

"He revolutionised the Irish economy, not through being an proponent of this or that economic theory, but through focusing economic reflection on what it really should be about:  the good of men and women and children of this country in their fight for a better life, for their dreams of being freed from deprivation, poverty, lack of employment opportunities, and of the possibility of achieving these basic human dreams without having to leave their country.  

"Ken Whitaker was a man of intelligence and creativity, but he was above all a man of integrity and therefore a free man, with an integrity never constrained by party allegiance or personal gain," he added.

The archbishop also paid tribute to Mr Whitaker's faith and said "he was not afraid to express his difficulties with his church".

"May the life of Ken Whitaker inspire many young people to look to the vital value of public service, lived with integrity and imagination, humility and creativity," he told the congregation.

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