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Railway Bar Trad Session

Railway Bar Trad Session

09-12-2021 9:00 pm - 30-11--0001
All Folk'd Up

All Folk'd Up

11-12-2021 8:00 pm -11:55 pm
£15.00
The Mudblood Podcast - LIVE!

The Mudblood Podcast - LIVE!

14-12-2021 7:00 pm -10:00 pm
£12.00
Railway Bar Trad Session

Railway Bar Trad Session

16-12-2021 9:00 pm - 30-11--0001
Fight for Alfie Christmas Spectacular

Fight for Alfie Christmas Spectacular

18-12-2021 1:00 pm -5:00 pm
£20.00
The Snowman Christmas Special

The Snowman Christmas Special

18-12-2021 2:00 pm -4:30 pm
£10.00
The Snowman Christmas Special

The Snowman Christmas Special

18-12-2021 5:30 pm -8:00 pm
£10.00
Fight for Alfie Christmas Spectacular

Fight for Alfie Christmas Spectacular

19-12-2021 1:00 pm -5:00 pm
£20.00
The Snowman Christmas Special

The Snowman Christmas Special

19-12-2021 2:00 pm -4:30 pm
£10.00
The Snowman Christmas Special

The Snowman Christmas Special

19-12-2021 5:30 pm -8:00 pm
£10.00
Hilltown Farmers Market

Hilltown Farmers Market

02-01-2022 11:00 am -2:00 pm
Stephen Fitzpatrick Auction

Stephen Fitzpatrick Auction

29-01-2022 11:00 am -2:00 pm
Hilltown Farmers Market

Hilltown Farmers Market

06-02-2022 11:00 am -2:00 pm
Hilltown Farmers Market

Hilltown Farmers Market

06-03-2022 11:00 am -2:00 pm
Foster and Allen

Foster and Allen

16-03-2022 8:00 pm -10:30 pm
Stephen Fitzpatrick Auction

Stephen Fitzpatrick Auction

26-03-2022 11:00 am -2:00 pm
Hilltown Farmers Market

Hilltown Farmers Market

03-04-2022 11:00 am -2:00 pm
Stephen Fitzpatrick Auction

Stephen Fitzpatrick Auction

30-04-2022 11:00 am -2:00 pm
Hilltown Farmers Market

Hilltown Farmers Market

01-05-2022 11:00 am -2:00 pm
Stephen Fitzpatrick Auction

Stephen Fitzpatrick Auction

28-05-2022 11:00 am -2:00 pm
Hilltown Farmers Market

Hilltown Farmers Market

05-06-2022 11:00 am -2:00 pm
Stephen Fitzpatrick Auction

Stephen Fitzpatrick Auction

25-06-2022 11:00 am -2:00 pm
Hilltown Farmers Market

Hilltown Farmers Market

03-07-2022 11:00 am -2:00 pm
Stephen Fitzpatrick Auction

Stephen Fitzpatrick Auction

30-07-2022 11:00 am -2:00 pm
Iúr Cinn Fleadh

Iúr Cinn Fleadh

25-08-2022 2:00 pm -11:55 pm
Iúr Cinn Fleadh

Iúr Cinn Fleadh

26-08-2022 2:00 pm -11:55 pm
Stephen Fitzpatrick Auction

Stephen Fitzpatrick Auction

27-08-2022 11:00 am -2:00 pm
Iúr Cinn Fleadh

Iúr Cinn Fleadh

27-08-2022 2:00 pm -11:55 pm
Iúr Cinn Fleadh

Iúr Cinn Fleadh

28-08-2022 2:00 pm -11:55 pm
Iúr Cinn Fleadh

Iúr Cinn Fleadh

29-08-2022 2:00 pm -11:55 pm
Stephen Fitzpatrick Auction

Stephen Fitzpatrick Auction

24-09-2022 11:00 am -2:00 pm
Stephen Fitzpatrick Auction

Stephen Fitzpatrick Auction

29-10-2022 11:00 am -2:00 pm
Stephen Fitzpatrick Auction

Stephen Fitzpatrick Auction

26-11-2022 11:00 am -2:00 pm
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Last week we looked at the early career of T.K. Whitaker, who was born in Rostrevor in 1916, and how he became the youngest person ever, at the age of 39, to be appointed secretary at Department of Finance in the Irish Government. Whitaker’s appointment came at a crucial time in the history of the Irish State. 

The Whitaker Institute is based at the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway. Courtesy of NUI Galway
The Whitaker Institute is based at the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway. Courtesy of NUI Galway

The goal of economic independence and self-sufficiency after the birth of the State had not transpired. Inward-looking protectionist policies, which dominated Irish economic policy from the 1920s had led to stagnation, high unemployment, low living standards and emigration at a figure not far below the birth rate.

Whitaker believed that ending protectionism, increasing inward investment, shifting from agriculture to industry and services would offer “a radical remedy” or it would “be better to make an immediate move towards re-incorporation into the United Kingdom rather than wait until our economic decadence became ever more apparent”.

As secretary in the Department of Finance he authored a paper, Economic Development, in 1958. These ideas were presented to the incoming Taoiseach, Seán Lemass in 1959 and became the basis of the First Programme for Economic Expansion. 

Whitaker’s ideas at the time were radical and it is fortunate that Lemass, who had previously supported protectionism, concluded that an open economy was what Ireland now needed. Grants were given to businesses to develop new goods and foreign direct investment was sought through a combination of grants and tax concessions. By 1964 unemployment had fallen by a third; emigration had reduced considerably, and the population grew for the first time since the Famine.

Thomas Kenneth Whitaker (1916 – 2017) signing the visitor’s book at the launch of the Whitaker Institute for Innovation and Societal Change at NUI Galway in 2012. He is pictured with Professor Jim Browne who was then President of NUI Galway. Courtesy of the Whitaker Institute
Thomas Kenneth Whitaker (1916 – 2017) signing the visitor’s book at the launch of the Whitaker Institute for Innovation and Societal Change at NUI Galway in 2012. He is pictured with Professor Jim Browne who was then President of NUI Galway. Courtesy of the Whitaker Institute

In 1960, Whitaker had played a pivotal role in the establishment of the Economic and Social Research Institute. He also had a key role in setting up the historic cross-border meetings in 1965 between the Taoiseach, Seán Lemass, and the Northern Ireland prime minister, Terence O’Neill, and again in 1967 between the then Taoiseach, Jack Lynch, and O’Neill.

T.K. Whitaker became Governor of the Central Bank in 1969 but he continued to work and advise the Irish Government on finding a peaceful solution to partition. Some of his ideas were incorporated into the Sunningdale Agreement in 1973 and policy proposals published by the Dublin and London governments.

Whitaker served two terms as an independent Senator, in 1977 and, in 1981, where he spoke out frankly on economic and Northern Ireland affairs. He was elected Chancellor of the National University of Ireland in 1976, a post which he held until 1996. During his term, he promoted much-needed reforms and did much of the groundwork for the autonomy of the three constituent colleges and St Patrick’s College, Maynooth. 

Other bodies which he chaired or presided over included the Royal Irish Academy, the Agency for Personal Service Overseas, the Constitution Review Group, the inquiry into the penal system, the Sea Trout Task Force and the Wild Salmon Support Group. He was appointed to the Council of State by President Mary Robinson in 1991. These do not consider the many national and international honours and tributes for his achievements during his lifetime

The economic restructuring of Ireland initiated by Whitaker laid the foundations for Ireland joining the European Economic Community in 1973, which in turn has led to Ireland becoming the destination of choice in Europe for the world’s most modern companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Pfizer and Xerox. 

In 2012, the Whitaker Institute for Innovation and Societal Change opened at NUI Galway and is the major structure for supporting research in business and the social sciences at the University.   Inspired by the themes that motivated Dr. T.K. Whitaker’s own life’s work, the Institute has adopted a similarly innovative, multidisciplinary and transformative approach in its research on challenges facing business and society in Ireland and internationally. (Further information on the work of the Institute can be found at www.whitakerinstitute.ie)

T.K. Whitaker died at the age of 100 in January 2017 and is widely regarded as the father of the modern Irish economy or indeed as 'The architect of modern Ireland'.

Newry and Mourne Museum would like to thank Hilary McGrath and also Angela Sice of the Whitaker Institute for providing source material and images for this article.

Newry and Mourne Museum is temporarily closed.

TK Whitaker: His Life and Times. Drogheda - Author: Ted Greene. ISBN 978-0-9554518-2-9

Architect of the economic reforms that set Ireland on the path to a prosperous future, TK Whitaker was voted Irishman of the 20 Century in 2001.

Read about his life in this heartfelt book (£15/€15) which also explores the times this extraordinary gentleman strove to improve life for everyone. Contact Ted Greene at tedgreene29@gmail.com for more information.

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