Over the years, watching Gabriel Byrne trying to bring together the business and arts communities of his Irish homeland, I often thought of his efforts as, not only a Sisyphean task, but a fool’s errand. The minute you get these two groups sitting at the same table, no matter what country they might be in, we know who is going to win. We see it every day.

But not every day. I was wrong. There will always be friction, of course, because the goals are different. But there can also be compromises, collaborations, and common goals sometimes. Gabriel’s work as Cultural Ambassador pointed to these possibilities, both for Ireland and for America.

And with this award, he is being recognized for his understanding of the way the world works and for his commitment to making it better–as an artist, as a public servant, and as a human being.

As noted on the Business and Finance Media Group Instagram account:

We are delighted to announce Golden Globe winner Gabriel Byrne as the recipient of the esteemed TK Whitaker Award. Presented by Colum McCann and Ian Hyland, this award honours Irish and international leaders who have made a unique and lasting impact on public life. Gabriel Byrne’s remarkable contributions have truly set a benchmark in this field!

Congratulations, Mr. Byrne! This award DOES mean something and it is wonderful that your homeland has chosen to bestow it upon you. heart

Gabriel’s Acceptance Speech

From the Business and Finance Media Group Instagram

TK Whitaker

According to Wikipedia:

Thomas Kenneth Whitaker (8 December 1916 – 9 January 2017) was an Irish economist, politician, diplomat and civil servant who served as Secretary (administrative head) of Ireland’s Department of Finance from 1956 to 1969, as Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland from 1969 to 1976 and as a Senator from 1977 to 1982, after being nominated by the Taoiseach. He is considered one of the most influential civil servants in the history of the Irish State, with his economic policies greatly influencing the development of modern Ireland.[1]

His 100 years were spent in a variety of positions and roles in Irish government, academic life, and public service. His love for the arts was well known; “He had had a very strong love for the Irish language throughout his career and the collection of Irish poetry, An Duanaire: Poems of the Dispossessed 1600–1900, edited by Seán Ó Tuama and Thomas Kinsella was dedicated to Whitaker.”

So now you know a little bit more about the man for whom this award is named. There is more at the Wikipedia page, of course, and more on the Internet, too. smile

One Comment

  1. What a quiet, yet powerful speech about the impact of the arts on communities. And how Mr. Byrne inspires the business audience to acknowledge this is so inspiring. Bravo for using this award to encourage corporate support of the arts. Bravo Mr. Byrne for your achievements as Cultural Ambassador and leading the NYC Irish Arts Centre building project.

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