PRESS RELEASE: Statement on the Passing of Dr Thomas Kenneth (TK) Whitaker

Dublin, 10 January 2017:  European Movement (EM) Ireland has learned with utmost sadness about the death of the great public servant and Irish economist, Dr Thomas Kenneth (TK) Whitaker.  We would like to extend our deepest condolences to his family.

Dr Whitaker, former secretary of the Department of Finance and member of the Seanad, was incredibly influential in moving Ireland’s thinking forward and was to the forefront of the country’s emigration issues in the 1950s, as well as being significant in developing cross-border relations with Northern Ireland during the 1960s.

As a committed public servant, Dr Whitaker fully believed that Ireland’s future was best served at heart of Europe, and he was instrumental in leading the drive for economic policy changes so that Ireland could begin the process of applying for full European Economic Community (EEC) membership.  His wisdom, passion and belief that Ireland could benefit from a shift towards trade liberalisation and a relationship with Europe, should be remembered with the greatest respect.

Speaking today, EM Ireland’s Executive Director, Noelle O Connell, said “My first public event as EM Ireland Executive Director was a unique and special occasion at a joint event between EM Ireland and the European Parliament in July 2011.  Here, Dr Whitaker delivered a memorable keynote address to mark the 50th anniversary of Ireland’s original membership application to the EEC by Taoiseach Seán Lemass.  His ability to recount with insight, knowledge and not least a healthy dose of humour is something that will live long in our memory as he spoke about the incredible journey that characterised Ireland’s road to eventual EU membership.  A dedicated and proud Irishman and European, his legacy remains prominent as his work continues to shape Ireland’s present and future.  Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.”

“On behalf of the Advisory Council, Board and staff of EM Ireland, I would like to extend our deepest sympathies to his family and friends,” concluded Ms O Connell.

Ends.

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