Saturday 21 October 2017

Obituary: 'Man of the century' dies, aged 100

Then Finance Minister Charles Haughey is presented with the first of Ireland's new decimal coins by TK Whitaker, then governor of the Central Bank, in September 1969 Photo: Lensmen Photographic Agency
Then Finance Minister Charles Haughey is presented with the first of Ireland's new decimal coins by TK Whitaker, then governor of the Central Bank, in September 1969 Photo: Lensmen Photographic Agency
Liam Collins

Liam Collins

TK (Ken) Whitaker, who has died aged 100, was probably the most influential civil servant in the history of the State and is largely credited with the creation of the modern economy Ireland enjoys today.

His biographer, Anne Chambers, summed up his long life and varied achievements: "His was the quiet presence, the rational and informed voice behind many of the most momentous episodes in recent history. For many decades, he was principal negotiator on Ireland's behalf with international statesmen and institutions, adviser and confidant to every Irish political figurehead, including De Valera, Costello, Aiken, Sweetman, Lemass, O'Neill and Lynch - and after his 'retirement', to latter-day incumbents of political high office."

For more than 60 years he was at the heart of the Irish establishment, as a civil servant, thinker, a member of a variety of State boards, and someone who was bestowed with almost every accolade that could be conferred on one man.

Please sign in or register with Independent.ie for free access to Opinions.

Sign In

Don't Miss