Treasury Secretary John Whitehead today paid tribute to former Secretary Bernie Galvin, who passed away yesterday.
Mr Galvin headed the organisation from 1980-1986, a time of volatility that featured the repercussions of the second oil shock, the devaluation of the dollar in 1984, the end of the Muldoon era, and the economic reforms of the 1980s.
An able economist, he joined the Treasury in 1955 under then Secretary Henry Lang as one of his first recruits, and was highly regarded by the revolutionary Lang. “Bernie proved exceptional from the beginning,” Mr Whitehead said. “He joined the Treasury at a time when very few graduates were recruited into the organisation, yet he was hand-picked by Henry.” The pair went on to develop a deep and mutual respect.
Mr Galvin, who came from a staunch Irish Catholic background, had a strong sense of social justice and was highly intelligent, Mr Whitehead said.
“He did try very hard to encourage economic debate within the organisation, and much of the work that informed the 1984 Budget was done under his watch, and with his active leadership.
“His time in what became the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet was really groundbreaking,” Mr Whitehead said. “He and Robert Muldoon invented it, and he staffed it with the best people he could find. The agency did make a material difference in ensuring that the public sector worked more closely together.
“He will be remembered with great admiration and much affection.”