The late Senator Ted Kennedy and his sister Jean Kennedy Smith, former US ambassador, have been honored with a Tipperary International Peace Award for their involvement in the Northern Irish peace process.
Three generations of the Kennedy family attended the award ceremony to celebrate Ted and Jean’s awards. The crowed waited as a minibus filled with the great American dynasty arrived at the Ballykisteen Hotel and Golf Resort. Among the family members were Ted’s widow, Victoria, William Kennedy Smith, his sister, Amanda Hood and her children Stephanie and Summer. This marked the largest gathering of the Kennedy family on Irish soil.
Ted Kennedy was honored for his battle for peace, human rights and nuclear disarmament. His widow, Victoria, said that he would have been very pleased to receive the award in Ireland as he loved Ireland and its people so much. She thanked the crowd for the award which honored his life’s work, memory and family.
For the last 40 years Ted Kennedy has been a leading figure in politics in the United States and through the world. In Ireland he will especially be remembered for his work in the run up to the Good Friday Agreement.
The Senator was also steadfastly against nuclear weapons and worked tirelessly for disarmament. He also spoke out against the United States involvement in armed conflicts all over the world including Iraq in 2002. Throughout his life he also worked as a campaigner for human rights and democracy working to end apartheid in South Africa and opposing dictatorships in Chile and Argentina.
Jean Kennedy Smith was honored for her service as United States ambassador in the 1990s when she earned a great deal of respect across Ireland.
During her speech she paid tribute to those she had worked alongside of as architects of the peace process. She mentioned Albert Reynolds, Bertie Ahern and John Hume. She said that she was immensely proud of the role the United States played in the process.
A spokesperson from the Peace Convention said “The advice that she gave and the contacts that she maintained, especially in times of difficulty, were of vital importance in achieving what was a very historic breakthrough in the Northern Ireland peace process and for that she deserves our everlasting admiration and respect. She served the United States proudly and capably as US ambassador to Ireland and played a pivotal role in the peace process during her five year residence in Ireland.”
Others who have received this award include Bob Geldof, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, Senator George Mitchell, Bill Clinton, Archbishop Robin Eames and Benazir Bhutto.