Irish economist TK Whitaker dies aged 100

He is credited with a pivotal role in Ireland's economic development

Irish economist TK Whitaker dies aged 100

TK Whitaker | Image via @merrionstreet on Twitter

Tributes are being paid to Irish economist TK Whitaker who has died.
 
Whitaker, who is credited with playing a pivotal role in the economic development of Ireland, was 100 years old.
 
He served as head of the Department of Finance in the early 1960s, and later served as Governor of the Central Bank.
 
He was also appointed by both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael Taoisigh as a member of Seanad Éireann.
 
Taoiseach Enda Kenny said: "TK Whitaker was in every sense a national treasure. He had an innate understanding of our patrimony - what we inherit from our ancestors - our ingenuity, our elegance, our intellect, our artistry, industry and kindness, and how we could put this to work for our country and our people.
 
"TK Whitaker changed life, lives and generations in Ireland. In the last decades, he more than any other person was responsible for transforming our economy and public life. 
 
"He had a rare vision for our country and its future. He was a gentleman and patriot. Today, as a nation, we mourn the passing of this outstanding man.
 
"We celebrate and give thanks for his exemplary achievements on behalf of Ireland. 
 
"In modern Irish history, TK Whitaker is both incomparable and irreplaceable."
 
Finance Minister Michael Noonan added: "TK Whitaker’s contribution to Irish society is widely known, and the respect with which he is held by politicians of all hues speaks volumes for his legacy as a public servant.
 
"While with the Department of Finance he demonstrated his skill and positive influence in both managing the department itself, and strategically guiding national economic policies.
 
"Together with a small team of officials, Whitaker provided a framework that would influence Irish economic policy for decades to come
 
"By promoting free trade and encouraging inward investment, Whitaker’s influence helped to change the Irish economy for the better.
 
"Whitaker went on to further achievements, including his successful Governorship of the Central Bank, his service as head of the ESRI and the National University of Ireland, his appointment to both Seanad Éireann and the Council of State, as well as his contribution to improving relations with Northern Ireland.
 
"These helped secure his place as one of Ireland’s most influential public servants.
 
"We remember the man and his family at this time, we  also recall the great achievements he has had in public policy and thank him for his contribution to public life in Ireland."
 
While Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan tweeted: "Saddened at the passing of  TK Whitaker after a century. As the Father of modern Ireland we acknowledge his vision with appreciation".
 And investment body IDA Ireland said: "TK Whitaker was one of the first people to see Ireland's potential as an economy that embraced foreign investment".
 
Additional reporting: Aisling O'Rourke