Thursday 23 February 2017

A great man is gone, but he has left us all better off

Senator Edward Kennedy, who passed away at his home surrounded by friends and family following a battle with cancer
Senator Edward Kennedy, who passed away at his home surrounded by friends and family following a battle with cancer

THE acid test of a public man is did he leave people better or worse off during his term in office? Whether he was a nice guy or a surly one doesn't matter. That is the test.

Ted Kennedy was blessed in as much as he passed the test of being one of the most effective politicians on the planet while at the same time being an extremely nice guy.

I first met him during the time when the debate over whether or not to grant a US visa to Gerry Adams was at its height. Ted came to my house for lunch at the behest of his sister Jean Kennedy-Smith, who was then the American ambassador to Ireland. There had already been another lunch at my house at which I introduced Jean to 'The Monk' as she called Father Alex Reid, the Redemptorist priest who did more than anyone else to start the Peace Process ball rolling.

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