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David Puttnam

Lord Puttnam receives TK Whitaker Award

Lord Puttnam receives TK Whitaker Award for Outstanding Contribution to Public Life at the 2019 Business and Finance Irish Business Awards

12 December, 2019

Lord Puttnam receives TK Whitaker Award for Outstanding Contribution to Public Life at the 2019 Business and Finance Irish Business Awards.

On Thursday 12th December, Lord David Puttnam CBE received the TK Whitaker Award for Outstanding Contribution to Public Life at the 2019 Business and Finance Irish Business Awards, held at Dublin’s Convention Centre.

During his response to receiving the award, Lord Puttnam announced that he and his wife Patsy were in the process of finalising their application for Irish citizenship, having lived in west Cork for the past thirty years.

Speaking after the ceremony about their decision, Lord Puttnam made it clear that having fought the madness of Brexit to a standstill, the time had come for he and his wife to confirm their commitment as Europeans, and to the nation that had welcomed and adopted them.

Lord Puttnam also took the opportunity in his speech to discuss his recent role as Chair of the House of Lords Democracy and Digital Technologies Committee and how this has further alerted him to the inconsistencies between existing global democratic systems and the new digital world: “[it] is a conundrum being faced by free societies everywhere - at present it seems to me we are long on questions but somewhat short on answers.”

On the day that Britons went to the polls, he also raised concerns about the increased lack of trust between voters and their political representatives: “the recent actions of politicians in the UK and the US seem designed to promote the notion that ‘truth and trust’ are unnecessary and outdated concepts – forms of currency that can be seized upon, exploited and tossed aside to justify a cheap headline or a useful distraction.”

He encouraged politicians in Ireland to “actively encourage and incentivise young people into public service” and to recognise the importance of RTÉ, as the nation’s public service broadcaster, in ensuring that information is kept impartial and accurate.

Lord Puttnam is the first international honouree of the Whitaker Award, with Mary McAleese, Enda Kenny and President Michael D. Higgins all having received the award, now in its fourth year.

Lord Puttnam served as Ireland’s Digital Champion from 2012 – 2017 and has been involved in various aspects of Irish life since he first came to the country in the late 1980s, including the establishment of many new education initiatives during his tenure on the board of the National Forum for Enhancement of Teaching and Learning from 2013 to 2016. He was made a fellow of the Royal Irish Academy in 2015 and an honorary fellow of the RDS in 2017.

In his local Skibbereen community, he was a founding member of the Ludgate Digital Hub in 2015 and he runs his education company – Atticus Education – from his home there.

Mario Draghi, former President of the ECB, received The Sutherland Leadership Award at the same event.

 

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