The death this morning of Senator Ted Kennedy is felt world wide but more especially here in Co Wexford where his roots are. Ted was a true friend to Ireland in the grim 80’s. He believed that the US had a role to play in bringing a lasting peace to the island. Along with Tip O’Neill, Daniel Moynihan and Hugh Carey he ensured Ireland punched above its weight at a crucial time in international politics when Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher enjoyed a special relationship against the Warsaw Pact.
The reality now is that there is many an emigrant from this country who secured a future in the US and person alive here at home who may without the peace process be dead. Kennedy was hugely influenced by John Hume. Closer to home the Kennedy’s were influential in bringing a profile to Co Wexford. The Dunbrody project in New Ross was completed and is a success because of the help of the Kennedy’s. The recent death of his sister Eunice Shriver saw controversy in New Ross when locals objected to the council chairman attending her funeral. She set up the special Olympics and was in her own right an outstanding Irish American. I believe the council chairpeson was right to go to her funeral and that if the opportunity is there he should go to Boston once to say good bye to a true friend of Wexford
As a legislator, he’ll be remembered for a very long time. I don’t believe the Democrats would ever have dumped Carter in 1980 and perhaps if he held back to 1984 his chances would have been better. The presidency’s loss was Capitol Hill’s gain. As a person he had his turmoil and I suppose a life is how you deal with everything but on balance this man leaves his country in a much better state than he found it.
He deserves all the accolades he gets.