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Tribute to TK Whitaker

Tribute to TK Whitaker

TK Whitaker

Institute of Public Administration pays tribute to the life of T.K. Whitaker

The Institute of Public Administration wishes to pay tribute to T.K. Whitaker who passed away on 9th January 2017.

Alongside the Institute's founding Director, Tom Barrington, Whitaker was one of the group of civil servants who supported the establishment of the Institute of Public Administration in 1957. He contributed regularly to the Institute's journal Administration. His contributions were always incisive, informed and informative.

The Institute also published a number of Whitaker's major works. These include 'Interests', a collection of his essays and lectures on his diverse range of interests including economic and financial matters, Northern Ireland, the Irish language and Irish culture. And 'Protection or Free Trade - The Final Battle', consisting mainly of exchanges between Whitaker and other departmental secretaries involved in trade policy. On the occasion of his 90th birthday we were delighted to publish 'Retrospect 1916-2006', which shines a light on some of his formative influences and demonstrates the keen eye he had for the humour and incongruities that, from time to time, attend even the most serious public service tasks.

In 2004 the Institute was honoured when he allowed his name to be associated with the establishment of the Whitaker School of Government and Management at the Institute of Public Administration. The Whitaker School aims to promote the values and practices promoted by Whitaker during his long career as a public servant dedicated to the economic and social development of the State.

The commitment of Whitaker to the betterment of Irish society through his contribution to economic development is well known. But he was also very committed to the development of the public service and public servants, as perhaps best summed up in his own words, to a meeting of graduates in University College Dublin, in1962, subsequently published in Administration:

Having regard to the extent to which Government activity now impinges on all aspects of political, economic and social affairs, it is important that civil servants should have the best intellectual training for dealing with the problems which arise in government administration. In the past, perhaps, we inclined to the view that administration is an art which can be practised effectively by any reasonably intelligent and well-disposed person. Nowadays, however, the variety and difficulty of administrative problems have so increased, and the tools and techniques for solving them have so developed as to render administration more than ever a science.

Whitaker's contribution to the Irish public service is immense, and his death leaves both a sadness at his passing but also a legacy of hope for the betterment of society he strived, through his public service, to achieve.

The Board and staff of the Institute would like to express their sympathy to Dr. Whitaker's family.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam

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