MICHAEL D HIGGINS and his wife Sabina were among more than a thousand mourners who paid their respects this morning to Dr TK Whitaker who passed away at the age of 100.
The President was among a host of dignitaries, including former President Mary McAleese, her husband Martin, Finance Minister Michael Noonan, former Central Bank Governor Patrick Honohan and Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin who packed the Sacred Heart Church in Donnybrook for the funeral Mass of the former secretary of the Department of Finance.
His friend of more than 30 years, Fr Loman MacAodha, who delivered the homily in both English and Irish, said that while Dr Whitaker, or Ken, as he was known to friends and family, was widely regarded as one of the chief architects of Ireland's modern economy, he was a deeply humble and spiritual man.
And in the words of the economist himself, who died on Monday a month after celebrating his 100th birthday, he was "a civil servant who did his best," he said.
But he was also a man of deep faith who celebrated Mass every morning at 7:30am for over 30 years at the same church that was packed to capacity today with his many friends.
Despite suffering numerous losses of loved ones over the years, Dr Whitaker "was a man of deepest thanksgiving despite many setbacks," Fr Loman said.
He recalled how at the age of 80, Dr Whitaker told him: " I thank God for so far giving me an interesting, happy and fulfilling life and I look forward to it continuing that way a bit longer."
Dr Whitaker's son Ken Whitaker Jr., also paid tribute to his father as a man who was much loved by his family, including his six children, 27 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren.
"Today we should look at the brighter side and his long life and all he did for his family and his country," he said.
He was laid to rest at Shanganagh cemetery following the Requiem Mass.