A member of Ireland’s parliament has been in Iowa, visiting Emmetsburg in northwest Iowa for that community’s St. Patrick’s Day events and speaking at the statehouse in Des Moines today.
Michelle Mulherin, a lawyer, was elected to the Irish Parliament in February of 2011 when the country was deep in a recession.
“We had to make tough decisions and, of course, as politicians we like to be popular and some of these decisions were not popular, but I think the proof and the evidence is now forthcoming,” Mulherin said. “The country is back on its feet.”
Mulherin said while many Americans celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, they may not know much about the British man who lived in the fifth century. Patrick was captured at the age of 16 in Britian and taken to work as a slave in Ireland, but he escaped. He returned to Ireland after he became a Catholic priest.
“At that stage in Ireland, we were pageans. We were not Christian at that stage, but Patrick had a calling and he came back and he preached the gospel and he is credited with the conversion of Ireland to Christianity and we celebrate that,” Mulherin said.
Today — March 17 — is widely believed to be the day on which St. Patrick died.
Mulherin’s sister, Grace, sang “America, the Beautiful” to open today’s sessions in both the Iowa House and Senate. The sisters were declared “honorary Iowans” today by the Iowa Senate.
AUDIO of Grace and Michelle Mulherin in Iowa Senate, 18:00