Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) Brian Cowen will travel to Boston to represent Ireland at the funeral of Senator Ted Kennedy.

“Ted's passing truly marks the end of a political era. However, while his political legacy, nationally and internationally, is extraordinary, it lives on through his unique contribution to peace on the island of Ireland,” said Cowen.

“At the Kennedy Library in Boston tomorrow night, we will mourn Ted's passing, but we will also celebrate the life of a great American and a great Irishman who will always be held in the deepest affection and regard both here and in the United States.”

Earlier this week, Cowen paid the following tribute on hearing of the death of the long time senator from Massachusetts:

"Ted hailed from a most famous Irish-American family, and through his own endeavors and achievement, he has added further luster to the reputation of a great family  . . .

"In good days and bad, Ted Kennedy worked valiantly for the cause of peace on this island. He played a particularly important role in the formative days of the Northern Ireland Peace Process in the early to mid-1990s. He has also always been a strong advocate of US investment in Ireland.

"Today, America has lost a great and respected statesman and Ireland has lost a long-standing and true friend."

Kennedy’s body will lie in repose at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum and an invitation only memorial service will be held there tonight.

A private funeral mass will be held at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Basilica, The Mission Church on Saturday morning at 10 a.m., and the Senator will be buried near his brothers at Arlington National Cemetery at 5.00 p.m.