A book of condolence has been opened at Ardee Library for TK Whitaker, the economist and civil servant who died last week at the age of 100.
The book of condolence, which is now available for members of the public to sign at the library in the town, was opened by cathaoirleach of the Ardee Municipal District committee Dolores Minogue, who signed the book alongside Independent councillor Jim Tenanty on Tuesday morning.
The library itself only reopened on Tuesday after being closed for 11 weeks due to electrical upgrades and interior renovation work. The book is available to sign during normal library hours all this week.
Thomas Kenneth Whitaker moved to Drogheda with his family in 1922 where he attended school in the local Christian Brothers and continued to have strong links with Louth during his long and distinguished career in economics and politics.
Whitaker played a key role in re energising Ireland’s economic development in the 1950s and 1960s and later in his life, he was named the Irishman of the 20th Century. Two years ago, the Institute of Banking conferred an Honorary Fellowship on Whitaker and created an annual T.K. Whitaker Scholarship in his name.
Soon after, he was presented with a lifetime achievement award by University College Dublin’s Economics Society for his outstanding contribution to Ireland’s Economic Policy.
All the while, he remained a fervent supporter of education locally, especially at DKIT where the Whitaker Theatre was named in his honour in 2001. Since then, he has been a regular visitor to the campus. His archive currently residers in the IT library, after Whitaker donated his extensive collection to the institute.
President Michael D Higgins as well as former president Mary McAleese were among the mourners at his funeral last weekend. Taoiseach Enda Kenny was represented by his aide-de-camp Commandant Kieran Carey while ministers Michael Noonan and Frances Fitzgerald and Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin were in attendance.
Speaking at last week’s meeting of the Ardee Municipal committee, the councillors present all expressed their condolence at Mr Whitaker’s passing at 100 years of age.
“I had the pleasure of talking to TK Whitaker and had a great conversation with him at the dedication to the dome building in Dundalk IT. He was very inspirational, he was brilliant,” councillor Liam Reilly said.
Colm Markey added, “You can talk about his vision and his inspiration, but I think TK Whitaker is someone we should all be thankful for in regards his economic and strategic development at a time when many others didn’t have that vision of how the country should develop.”
On Monday, books of condolence for TK Whitaker were opened at Tholsel Drogheda, Dundalk Town Hall and County Hall in Dundalk.