Saturday 7 December 2019

TK Whitaker 1916 -2017: Life of the 'Irishman of the 20th Century'

Dr.TK Whitaker. Photo: Tom Burke
Dr.TK Whitaker. Photo: Tom Burke Newsdesk Newsdesk

1916: Thomas Kenneth Whitaker is born in Rostrevor, Co Down.

1934: He completed the civil service clerical officer exams. Awarded first place.

1941: Married to his first wife, Nora Fogarty. The couple had six children: Brian, David, Ken, Gerry, Catherine, and Raymond.

1956: Appointed to the position of secretary of the Department of Finance, at the age of 39.

1958: Having put together a team to research a report into the Irish economy, he published his Economic Blueprint, an ambitious plan which forms the basis of Ireland's modern economy.

1960s: Spearheaded Ireland's path to the then European Economic Community.

Dr Whitaker spearheaded Ireland’s path to the then European Economic Community
Dr Whitaker spearheaded Ireland’s path to the then European Economic Community

1965: He played a pivotal role in organising the historic meeting between then Taoiseach Seán Lemass and Prime Minister of Northern Ireland Terence O'Neill.

1967-1997: He played a key, behind-the-scenes role in the Northern Ireland peace process.

1969: Appointed as governor of the Central Bank, where he worked to maintain its credit control function independence from the Government and banking sector.

1971: He wrote 'Northern Ireland - A Possible Solution', the basis of the Good Friday Agreement 30 years later.

1976: He was appointed as chancellor of the National University of Ireland.

1977: Nominated to join Seanad Éireann.

1994: His first wife Nora passed away.

2001: Voted RTÉ's Irishman of the 20th Century.

2005: At the age of 90, he married his second wife, Mary Moore. She passed away in 2008.

2017: Died one month after his 100th birthday.

Irish Independent

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