FORMER US president, Jimmy Carter has been staying at Mount Juliet, Thomastown over the last few days. The 88-year-old spent some time fishing on the River Nore yesterday with a detail of secret service men in close attendance. As he fished downstream of the bridge that takes you to Mount Juliet house, armed officers stood 10 yards either side of him. While security was tight at the luxurious country club and golf course, there was a relaxed atmosphere.
The one-time peanut farmer is part of an elite humanitarian group which travels the world. The Elders, is a small group of independent, former world leaders who address global challenges from child marriage to climate change. Former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson also attended and also there was the first woman Prime Minister of Norway, Gro Harlem; a medical doctor who champions health as a human right and has put sustainable development on the international agenda.
Before Mr Carter’s visit, members of the US embassy and secret service agents went to St Luke’ Hospital in the city to ensure it could cater for a potential stroke or heart attack. It was like something straight out of a Hollywood blockbuster when the suit clad officers, complete with sunglasses toured the facility. And they liaised with local gardai in Thomastown while Waterford Airport was put on stand-by for emergency cover. Mr Carter is expected to fly back to the US on Thursday (tomorrow).
Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, Desmond Tutu, a member of the first democratically elected government of South Africa was to have been a speaker at Mount Juliet but couldn’t attend for personal reasons.