Jean Kennedy Smith: Last JFK sibling and US envoy dies aged 92
Jean Kennedy Smith was the U.S. ambassador to Ireland during the 1990s unrest
Jean Kennedy Smith, a U.S. ambassador who played a key role in the peace process in Northern Ireland, died at the age of 92.
Her daughter Kym confirmed her death to the US media on Thursday.
Ms. Smith was the second youngest of the nine Kennedy siblings, which included President John F. Kennedy and Senator Robert F. Kennedy.
As a diplomat, activist and humanitarian, Ms. Smith was the last surviving child of Joseph P. Kennedy and Rose Fitzgerald.
Ms. Smith was US Ambassador to Ireland in the 1990s and played an important role in trying to end sectarian violence in Northern Ireland.
On Thursday, Mick Mulvaney, US Special Representative for Northern Ireland, said: "Ambassador Smith played a vital role in promoting peace in Northern Ireland by using deep personal empathy and courage.
"We team up with colleagues and friends to offer condolences to their family when they die."
In 2011, US President Barack Obama awarded Ms. Smith the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country's highest civilian award.
She lived a quiet life until she entered politics, did philanthropic work, and stayed away from her distinguished surname.
Her first impression of politics came in 1960 when she campaigned nationwide for her brother John F. Kennedy, who ran for the presidency.
Ms. Smith (right) traveled across the United States to promote her brother John F. Kennedy
The controversial move led to peace
By Mark Devenport, political editor of the BBC Northern Ireland
Jean Kennedy Smith was appointed US Ambassador to Dublin in 1993 - a particularly delicate time in Northern Ireland when the IRA wondered whether to end its violent campaign of more than two decades.
The new ambassador made her famous Irish-American family famous. She was soon convinced that the issuance of a short-term US visa to Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams - against the will of the British government - could play an important role in demonstrating to the Irish Republicans that adopting a peaceful political one Strategy would pay off.
Ambassador Kennedy Smith did not have to convince President Bill Clinton of the reasons for issuing a visa - he had already promised the same in the campaign for the White House. But she ran into other US officials, including two diplomats in her own embassy, who expressed their opposition. The dispute became so bitter that she received an official reprimand from Secretary of State Warren Christopher.
In the event that Gerry Adams made a 48-hour visit to New York in February 1994 - a step that paved the way for the IRA to request an armistice six months later.
When Bill Clinton appointed Jean Kennedy Smith ambassador, he called her "as Irish as an American can be." When she ended her tenure as US Ambassador in 1998, she received Irish citizenship for "Outstanding Service to the Nation".
Ms. Smith's role in bringing the Irish Republican Army (IRA) to the negotiating table was seen as an important step in ending decades of sectarian violence in Northern Ireland.
"The Irish people were willing to take me at face value to give me the benefit of the doubt because I was a Kennedy," said Ms. Smith about her tenure in 1998. "I was really a cog in the machine that was moving. I was lucky enough to be here, maybe to give momentum to what was happening. "
Ms. Smith was born in Boston, Massachusetts on February 20, 1928 and studied English at Manhattanville College.
In 1945, she was asked to launch the USS Joseph P Kennedy Jr., a newly commissioned Navy destroyer named after her brother who died in World War II.
In 2016, she published a paper called The Nine of Us, in which she noted that her childhood seemed "not exceptional".
"I find it difficult to understand that I grew up with brothers who ultimately hold the highest positions in our nation, including the President of the United States," she said.
In 1956, Jean Kennedy married Stephen E Smith, a senior executive at a transportation company founded by his grandfather.
Mr. Smith, a New York financier who advised the Kennedy family and oversaw their assets, died in 1990.
The couple are survived by their two daughters Kym and Amanda, two sons, Stephen Jr and William, and six grandchildren.
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