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.
She had also sat through every day of her son William's lengthy rape trial. He was eventually found not guilty.
In her endeavours for the peace process, she found herself up against two of her Government's departments, that of State and Defence, both of whom had deep entanglements with the British in both FBI/CIA co-operation, and military co-operation in areas such as the Middle East and the Balkans.
Moreover, she had to contend with hostility in the London Embassy spearheaded by US Ambassador Raymond Seitz, and in her own Dublin Embassy.
Here, some of her staff took advantage of a provision in State Department regulations, which allow officials to disagree with their ambassador, to sign a dissent from her activities.
These, they claimed, were harmful to American permanent interests, and indicated that she might have been listening unduly to Irish influences, including myself. The opposition to her initiative grew to such a high - though hidden pitch - that when it became known that she intended to visit Northern Ireland, the RUC let it be known they could not guarantee her safety.
She famously went anyway, and en route to Belfast received a call from Warren Christopher, then secretary of state, and officially at least, her boss. But she informed him that the line was bad and that as she could not hear him, she was passing the phone to her assistant. Strangely enough, she too developed a hearing loss. The journey continued unimpeded, as did Jean.
She had an incredible talent for friendship and the embassy soon became a Mecca for every poet, playwright and artist of stature in Dublin, from Seamus Heaney and Brendan Kennelly to Sebastian Barry.
Apart from these public contacts, she made other friends also, chiefly Fr Alec Reid, the Redemptorist priest from Clonard Monastery off the Falls Road, who became a key confidante. He helped to bolster the advice that Gerry Adams was to be trusted, and given the visa to visit the US on which the first IRA ceasefire ultimately swung. It was the signal to the militants that the ballot box, rather than the armalite, was the fruitful route.
Jean was also trusted not merely by the republicans but by crucial figures in the Irish establishment, notably Taoiseach Albert Reynolds who, along with Tony Blair, justifiably deserves to be included with honour in the lists of the peace processes paternity.
Not all the Irish establishment agreed with her.
But the 'Jean machine', as the 'Sunday Times' dubbed her, continued onward.
When using the phone, Jean would refer to Fr Reid as "the Monk".
He reciprocated by calling her the "speir bhean" bracketing her with the mythical figures from the aisling poetry who appeared to poets in their dreams. Legend has it they brought tidings of comfort to Ireland in an hour of need.
It was an apt comparison.
For if one applies to Jean Kennedy Smith the only true acid test of political life - "Did he or she leave the situation she found better or worse?" - Jean Kennedy Smith passes with first-class honours.