The Whitaker award is the highest honour the Irish Academy of Management can bestow. It is not simply a lifetime achievement award but is for someone who has made unique, substantial and ongoing contributions to management in Ireland and is named after its first recipient T.K. Whitaker
From what I’ve researched about Kieran Mulvey I think these are key aspects of the man; he is diplomatic, realistic and knows well how to deal with people of different political, trade union and business backgrounds. He was one of the key architects behind the Croke Park Agreement which many say has provided a foundation for the state to correct the imbalance in its public finances.
Kieran Mulvey has been able to do this because he has a basic understanding of people, gained as this was from his background, education and work in the trade union movement. I’d like to talk about these briefly to give you an idea of the man.
After UCD he began a career in the trade union movement and on his 24th birthday he became the youngest General Secretary of a national trade union when heading up the Irish Federation of University Teachers (IFUT).
His ability to build consensus was obviously one of the reasons he was appointed as the first Chief Executive to the newly established Labour Relations Commission in 1991. A mark of the esteem and respect in which he is held by all political hues is in the fact that over the past twenty years he has been reappointed by governments comprised of all parts of the political spectrum, and is now in his fifth term of office.
When the current economic malaise led to the demise of the national social partnership process he stepped forward once again to suggest an imaginative and pragmatic solution, the Croke Park Agreement, which has become a fundamental mainstay of the international agreement with the troika of the IMF, EU and ECB.
Kieran Mulvey has worked consistently and tirelessly to ensure that Irish society has moved away from what often was an adversarial and fractious industrial relations climate to one which is significantly more consensual, imaginative and embraces much of the best of modern Ireland.
Kieran Mulvey has made a profound difference to our society and so he is and extremely fitting recipient of the Irish Academy of Management’s Whitaker Award. Therefore I would like to call on the Chair of the Academy, Dr Alma McCarthy, to present Kieran Mulvey with the IAM’s Whitaker Award 2012.