Last JFK sibling dies | Daily News


 

Last JFK sibling dies

Jean Kennedy Smith

US: Former US President John F. Kennedy’s last surviving sibling, Jean Kennedy Smith -- who was instrumental in bringing peace to Northern Ireland -- has died aged 92.

Smith, who served as US ambassador to Ireland for five years in the 1990s, passed away on Wednesday at her home in Manhattan, New York.

The cause of death was not immediately known.

Tributes poured in for Smith, whose brothers also included Attorney General Robert Kennedy and Senator Ted Kennedy.

“Her courageous and determined diplomacy helped to bring peace to our island, built bridges, opened doors to all communities, and to all those striving for peace when peace was not a certainty,” Ireland Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said in a statement.

Members of Congress also paid tribute, including her grand-nephew, House of Representatives Democrat Joe Kennedy III.

“Incredible aunt, amazing woman, and remarkable life. I’ll miss your trouble-making and your huge heart, Aunt Jean,” he tweeted.

Smith’s daughter Kym Smith told NBC News that her mother had led “an amazing life.”

Born on February 20, 1928 in Boston, Massachusetts, Smith was the eighth of nine children born to Joseph P. Kennedy and Rose Fitzgerald.

The family would become the United States’ most famous political dynasty and an endless source of fascination to the American public.

After spending much of her life as a socialite away from the political spotlight, in 1993 Smith was named the US ambassador in Dublin by then president Bill Clinton.

The appointment raised a few eyebrows but Smith, whose father had been ambassador to Britain when she was young, embraced her role, shaking it up along the way.

She frequently met with Gerry Adams, the leader of the Irish Republican Army’s political wing Sinn Fein, defying US policy and despite fervent criticism.

Smith is credited with helping Adams get a visa to visit the United States, where he made the case for a ceasefire in the conflict in Northern Ireland.

Her gestures towards Adams, who was considered a terrorist by the British government, brought Sinn Fein into peace talks. Clinton later invited Adams to the White House.

Smith played a key role in helping restore a ceasefire which helped pave the way for the later negotiations that resulted in the 1998 Belfast Agreement, also known as the Good Friday Agreement. - AFP


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