Monday 26 August 2019

Kennedy clan mourns again as Saoirse (22) is found dead

Saoirse Hill
Saoirse Hill
Solemn: A young Saoirse Hill lays flowers on JFK’s eternal flame in Arlington Cemetery watched by her parents and other family members

Allyson Chiu

Saoirse Kennedy Hill, the granddaughter of Robert F Kennedy, has been found dead at the family's compound in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts.

The 22-year-old student, the daughter of Paul Hill, one of the Guildford Four, was taken to hospital on Thursday after a call for assistance from a property where her grandmother, Ethel Kennedy (91) lives.

But she was found to be dead on arrival.

"The world is a little less beautiful today," Mrs Kennedy, the widow of Robert F Kennedy, said in a family statement yesterday.

"Our hearts are shattered by the loss of our beloved Saoirse," the family, whose many tragedies have been labelled 'the curse of the Kennedys', added. "Her life was filled with hope, promise and love."

Ms Hill, a student at Boston College, was the only child of her mother Courtney Kennedy Hill's marriage to Mr Hill.

She had been open in the past about her struggle with depression.

"The matter remains under investigation by Barnstable Police and State Police detectives assigned to the District Attorney's Office," assistant district attorney Tara Miltimore said yesterday.

Ms Hill's father spent 15 years in prison in the UK after he, two other Irishmen living in the UK and an English woman were tortured and intimidated into confessing to carrying out pub bombings in 1974.

The Four were cleared in 1989 and in 1993, Mr Hill married Courtney, the fifth child of Robert F Kennedy and his wife Ethel. The couple lived in Ireland between 2002 and 2006, when they separated.

Ms Hill shared her father's love of sport and went to games with him at RFK Stadium in Washington DC, named after her assassinated grandfather, 'The Washington Post' reported in 2014.

Before she was enrolled in school in Massachusetts, she also played in the US capital's largest youth soccer league, DC Stoddert Soccer.

At the time of her death, she was a communications student at Boston College.

A LinkedIn profile matching her name said she was a junior at the private university in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.

"I seek a career where I can merge my studies with my interest in politics and contribute to the national dialogue on the issues that are most important to me," the account read.

The Kennedy family said Ms Hill cared deeply about human rights and women's empowerment causes, adding that she "found great joy in volunteer work, working alongside indigenous communities to build schools in Mexico".

The Kennedy family's past includes a number of untimely deaths and other tragedies.

In 1944, Joseph Kennedy Jr, the oldest brother of JFK and RFK, was killed in action aged 29. Four years later, his sister Kathleen (28) also died in a plane crash. The 1960s saw the assassinations of JFK and RFK.

Two of Ms Hill's uncles died untimely deaths in the 1980s and 1990s, aged just 28 and 39.

And in 1999, the late president's son John F Kennedy Jr, his wife and sister-in-law died in a plane crash.

On Thursday, the family once again found themselves mourning one of their own.

"She lit up our lives with her love, her peals of laughter and her generous spirit," the family said of Ms Hill. "We will love and miss her forever."

Irish Independent

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