Wednesday 13 December 2017

Whitaker's economic ideas transformed Ireland - and resounded around the world

TK Whitaker, pictured at a Department of Finance function to mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of the ESRI, in 2010. Photo: Leon Farrell
TK Whitaker, pictured at a Department of Finance function to mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of the ESRI, in 2010. Photo: Leon Farrell
Brendan Keenan

Brendan Keenan

Even the longest of lives must come to an end, but the business of government goes on forever. The three great issues to which TK Whitaker devoted his life remain with us. We can only wonder how much worse they would have been without him.

The three were Ireland's economic relations with the rest of the world, the problem of Northern Ireland, and the management of the public finances.

Dr Whitaker is best known, and will always be remembered, for the first; the publication of the white paper 'Programme for Economic Expansion,' published in 1958. This was the one which argued against the protectionist system of tariffs on imports in favour of free trade and openness to foreign investment.

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