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Wednesday 23 July 2014

Some of Jackie Kennedy letters should come home, says niece

Kathryn Hayes

Published 18/06/2014|02:30

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Bridget (9), Zachery (6) and Georgia (11), the children of Rory Kennedy, in Limerick yesterday
Bridget (9), Zachery (6) and Georgia (11), the children of Rory Kennedy, in Limerick yesterday

SOME of the collection of letters written by Jackie Kennedy to an elderly Irish priest – recently withdrawn from auction – should be handed back to the Kennedy family, her niece has said.

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Speaking during a visit to the University of Limerick, Rory Kennedy, the youngest of the 11 children of Senator Bobby and Ethel Kennedy, said her aunt Jackie had written some "wonderful letters", many of which should be shared.

However, when asked specifically about the letters written between 1950 and 1964 to Fr Joseph Leonard, a Vincentian priest who lived in All Hallows in Drumcondra, Ms Kennedy said: "I think some of them need to be back with the family.

"I think it's a question of choosing and selecting them a little bit more and having a little bit more control over that."

Earlier this month, a statement from All Hallows said the letters were "being withdrawn from auction" at the direction of the college and the Vincentian Fathers.

The statement added: "Representatives of All Hallows College and the Vincentian Fathers are now exploring with members of Mrs Kennedy's family how best to preserve and curate this archive for the future."

Speaking about her aunt's writings and the correspon dence she received, Ms Kennedy said: "I think that Jackie wrote some wonderful letters and people wrote lovely letters to Jackie and I think a lot of those letters are really beautiful and express a certain time and era, so I think it's nice to share some of those."

Rory Kennedy is visiting Ireland with her husband Mark and the couple's three children, who are enjoying their first visit to their ancestral home.

During her visit to the University of Limerick, Ms Kennedy spoke with Dr Eoin Devereaux of UL's Sociology Department about her career as a humanitarian documentary filmmaker and about her famous family.

Ms Kennedy was born six months after her father, US Senator Robert Kennedy, was assassinated in 1968.

Commenting on her latest production, 'Ethel', the documentary-maker admitted it was not a subject she would have normally selected.

"I was asked to make this film about my mother.

"It's not a subject I would normally have done, but my executives were quite insistent and then my mother, it turned out, was open to it," she explained.

"I thought since she's open to it I should do it, because I don't think she would tell her story otherwise. I am now happy that I did it."

Rory and her family visited the John F Kennedy Memorial School for Boys on the Ennis Road and raised the school's first Green Flag for Biodiversity, as well as visiting Bunratty Castle and Folk Park.

Irish Independent

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