Return To Emmetsburg Like A Reunion For The Carty’s
A lot of things can change in four years time, but for John Carty and his wife Katherine, one thing about Emmetsburg hasn’t changed in that span of time.
“You have a wonderful sense of family here and a sense of community that is just like is found in Ireland,” Carty said Friday morning. “To us, this is a wonderful reflection of your community and its ties to Ireland.”
John and Katherine Carty were last in Emmetsburg in 2005 as the official Irish Dignitaries, a role they are reprising for the 2009 St. Patrick’s Celebration in a somewhat abbreviated visit to the area. Due to the ongoing economic crisis in Ireland, the Carty’s visit is much shorter than they would like, but nevertheless, both are happy to be back in Emmetsburg.
“We’re both very happy to be bringing better weather with us for this visit,” John Carty quipped. “The last time we were your guests, it snowed almost a foot the night before the parade, but much of that snow melted off before parade time and we had a great visit.”
Both John and Katherine were saddened to hear of the loss of Mickey Conlon just prior to the St. Pat’s Celebration. “There is surely a void in this year’s celebration with the death of Mickey Conlon. Mickey was certainly Mr. Emmetsburg and I know that many members of the Irish Parliament along with Katherine and I offer our deepest sympathies to Mickey’s family.”
Even though the couple arrived in Emmetsburg late Thursday evening, some of their first public appearances on Friday morning had already given the couple an opportunity to renew old acquaintances from their last visit to the community.
“We’ve already seen several people we met from our last visit here,” John noted. “We’ve event met back up with some folks who traveled to our hometown, Knock, in County Mayo in 2005 with Father Guenther on a tour. I was in Dublin in the Senate when they came to Knock, but Katherine was able to meet with them and spend some time with them then.”
One of the biggest changes the Carty’s have found in Emmetsburg is the Wild Rose Casino, which was not yet under construction when the couple first visited. “Your casino is now up and running and we’re looking forward to visiting it over the weekend,” John noted. “Hopefully, we can go home with a few dollars from them, but we’ll probably leave them a dollar or two instead.”
One thing that has changed in both Ireland and the United States has been the state of the world’s economy. Both nations are struggling with difficult financial conditions, and as an Irish Senator, Carty has been working with his colleagues for many months to try and address the problems faced by Ireland and its people.
“Our current economic problems are much the same as yours in America,” Carty said. “We are struggling with banks who are in difficulty, rising unemployment and a lack of spending. All of these things happened so quickly that it’s been hard for us in the Senate to come to grips with them.”
Carty went on to note that with the election of Barack Obama as President in November of last year, he feels America faces exciting times. “With the election of your Barack Obama, we are hopeful that he will be able to help lift this current economic burden. We see President Obama as a positive force who will have the skills to bring all the sections of the American society together.”
“The Irish people are very optimistic about the current economic downturn,” Carty continued. “There is money in the country, but people just aren’t spending it right now. They’re being much more cautious of how they spend it and on what they spend it on. Personally, I think this current downturn will last until 2011 before it rights itself.”
“Coming back to Emmetsburg for us is much like returning home, just because of the feeling of family and community that we find here,” John Carty said. “If there were one thing I could bring from Ireland to give to you here in the states, it would be that sense of family and community. It is here in Emmetsburg and we hope that it can spread all through the land.”