Sunday 23 July 2017

Maurice Manning: Civil servant trusted by taoisigh changed our economic fortunes

Taoiseach Enda Kenny with TK Whitaker at the launch of the TK Whitaker Portrait of Patriot book at the Royal Irish Academy, Dublin. Photo: Mark Condren
Taoiseach Enda Kenny with TK Whitaker at the launch of the TK Whitaker Portrait of Patriot book at the Royal Irish Academy, Dublin. Photo: Mark Condren

Maurice Manning

It has become standard practice to describe Ken Whitaker as an unconventional civil servant, largely because for the first time ever the authorship of a major set of policy proposals was attributed not to the government or a minister but to a civil servant.

In fact, Whitaker was very far from being an unconventional civil servant. He was in fact a very conventional public-spirited civil servant.

He had been thoroughly trained in the rigorous Department of Finance traditions of scrupulous guardianship of the public purse and the highest ethical standards of probity and personal behaviour. These were standards he was proud to adhere to all his life - and standards he expected of others in public life.

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