Wednesday 22 February 2017

Late, great TK Whitaker changed attitudes to the North

Published 16/01/2017 | 02:30

TK Whitaker with Taoiseach Enda Kenny in 2011 Photo: Maxwells
TK Whitaker with Taoiseach Enda Kenny in 2011 Photo: Maxwells

We often hear it said that things are not what they used to be. This is certainly so in the case of the late TK (Ken) Whitaker. Plucked from way down the line by then-finance minister Gerard Sweetman, Mr Whitaker went on to become a colossus in Irish public life.

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He bluntly told the likes of Seán Lemass and Éamon de Valera that the State would die unless some new approaches were made and, to be fair, they let him have his way - some say it suited them to let him front the move towards modernity.

He was also instrumental in arranging meetings between taoisigh Lemass and Jack Lynch with Northern Ireland prime minister Terence O'Neill, and indeed was great help to Mr Lynch later when more strident voices were screaming through the keyholes.

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