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Jean Kennedy Smith: Friendly mother of peace process had political nous

Tim Pat Coogan


 

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Jean Kennedy Smith. Photo: AFP via Getty Images

Jean Kennedy Smith. Photo: AFP via Getty Images

AFP via Getty Images

Jean Kennedy Smith. Photo: AFP via Getty Images

To listen to the many assessments as to how the Irish peace process was won, one could be forgiven for thinking that it had 100 fathers, which it did not, but incontestably, it had only one mother - Jean Kennedy Smith. Without her presence in Dublin, and that of her brother Ted in Washington, there would not have been a Good Friday Agreement.

When she arrived in Dublin on becoming ambassador in 1993, she cut a frail figure that did not indicate anything of the courage and political skill required to achieve that triumph.

In the years before she appeared in the US embassy in Dublin, hosting the July 4 celebrations, she had returned from an estrangement to nurse her former husband Stephen E Smith, in his last illness.