Whitaker named Ireland's greatest living person


Dr T.K. Whitaker was named Greatest Living Irish Person at the ESB/Rehab People of the Year Awards at the weekend.

The former civil servant and economist was deemed by the judges to have made the biggest single contribution to the development of the Irish nation over the last 75 years.

Dr Whitaker received the "one-off" award for his contribution to the reshaping of Ireland's economic policy in the 1950s.

Former Republic of Ireland footballer Niall Quinn received the Irish Person of the Year Award for donating the proceeds of his testimonial match to charity.

The Tánaiste, Ms Harney, presented the annual award winners, chosen from nominations by the Irish public.

Mr Francis Fitzsimons won the International Person of the Year Award for his dedication to improving the lives of war orphans in Mozambique.

Young Irish Person of the Year is Mr Martin Gildea, who was praised for his positive attitude and the inspiration he provides to those around him. Mr Gildea was diagnosed with a rare cancer during his Leaving Cert year. However, he registered for his college course as planned, and began attending lectures while receiving chemotherapy. He underwent surgery in his second year and passed all his exams with honours.

Mr Colm O'Gorman received an award for highlighting sexual abuse and its consequences. He was praised for his courage in telling of his experience, which has helped others to speak out.

Ms Rosemary Daly won an award for her campaigning work on the infection of haemophiliacs by contaminated blood products.

Mr Joe Kernan also won a People of the Year Award for bringing the All-Ireland football title to Armagh for the first time.

Ms Caroline Casey received an award for increasing awareness of the issues facing people with disabilities, in particular people with vision impairment.

The adjudicating panel included editors of national newspapers, provincial press and broadcast media.