Matthews remembers former New York Governor Hugh Carey


Let me finish tonight with a few words about one of the two great Irish Americans to come to office in that exciting American election of 1960.

One was John F. Kennedy.  The other was Hugh Carey of New York.

Hugh Carey was the man, who as governor of New York, saved New York City from financial collapse.  He did it with brains, guts, heart and common sense.  He saw a city - a great city - that had lost its way - and through tough, unpleasant but necessary steps won back its good sense - and, yes, its credit rating.  He made the cuts that needed to be made, raised the taxes and put things back together.  He even got a Republican president to change his mind about New York, a president who had basically told the city to drop dead.

Today, New York is the most vital city in the United States - a more exciting, safer city than its ever been.  Every young person I know wants to live there.  Hugh Carey started that.  He’s the one who did it.

He did something else for which he will always be remembered by Irish Americans. 

It was he, along with Tip O’Neill, Ted Kennedy and Pat Moynihan who ended - for all times I hope - American support for the violence in Northern Ireland.  They were the famed “Four Horsemen” - named for Knute Rockne’s Notre Dame backfield - who started what ended with the Good Friday accord and with that the end to “The Troubles” - the time of horror that had the Irish killing each other for too many years.

Hugh Carey, the man who saved New York, the last of the Four Horsemen, not, I hope the last Irish-American politician. Because he was tough, because he was truly and bravely honest, because he had guts, because he never lost his faith, because, as he said, he was “always under-estimated,” he gives every big-city politician - and every background - someone to be truly and forever proud of. 

I wish his family and all his friends my warmest love on their loss of this great leader - and pretty good singer - who meant so much to us all.

I loved it when Mayor Ed Koch called him the greatest New York governor of modern times.   

I say “Here. Here.”

Matthews remembers former New York Governor Hugh Carey