Wednesday 26 April 2017

Whitaker's real legacy: not being scared to tear up the rule book

Taoiseach Enda Kenny with TK Whitaker (left) at the launch of the book ‘TK Whitaker: Portrait of a Patriot’ at the Royal Irish Academy, Dublin, in 2014. Photo: Mark Condren
Taoiseach Enda Kenny with TK Whitaker (left) at the launch of the book ‘TK Whitaker: Portrait of a Patriot’ at the Royal Irish Academy, Dublin, in 2014. Photo: Mark Condren
Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

TK Whitaker, who died this week, was a brilliant and dedicated public servant whose work in the 1950s produced an enduring legacy.

But it is a disservice to the man, his work and his overriding commitment to fostering of national prosperity to pretend that his eponymous 1958 report marked a clean break in Irish economic history.

To read some of the commentary around Mr Whitaker's contribution to Irish life, you'd be hard put not to come away with the impression that Mr Whitaker's 'First Programme for Economic Expansion' marked an end to mass emigration and ushered in an uninterrupted era of ever increasing national prosperity.

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