Northern Ireland politicians to attend funeral of Ted Kennedy
Published 28/08/2009 | 06:21
Northern Ireland politicians are to join world leaders in the US this weekend to pay their respects to Senator Edward Kennedy.
Among those making the journey to Boston to attend the funeral are deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, Nobel Laureate John Hume and SDLP leader Mark Durkan.
Mr Hume, Mr Durkan and SDLP deputy leader Alasdair McDonnell signed the official book of condolence in memory of Senator Kennedy at the US Consulate in Belfast yesterday.
The book is available for members of the public to leave messages of condolence at the consulate at Danesfort House in Belfast until 4pm today.
The consulate has also provided an email address to forward condolences to the late senator's family: It is email@example.com.
In Dublin a steady stream of people have signed a book at the US Embassy.
Taoiseach Brian Cowen also departed for Boston yesterday evening to represent Ireland at the funeral.
Prior to his departure he said: “Ted’s passing truly marks the end of a political era. However, while his political legacy nationally and internationally is extraordinary, it lives on through his unique contribution to peace on the island of Ireland.”
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said his passing would be felt by many across the world “and in particular the Irish diaspora in America”.
“Senator Kennedy played a central role in American domestic political life and contributed significantly to the development of the peace process here,” he added.
Tributes have poured in from around the world for Mr Kennedy — recognised for the role he played in helping to create the Northern Ireland peace process.
The death of the senator, aged 77, after a long battle with brain cancer brings to an end one of the most famous and celebrated political dynasties in US history.
Mr Kennedy, brother of John and Robert Kennedy, was a leading figure in US and international politics for more than 40 years.
In Ireland Kennedy will be remembered for his involvement in the peace process leading to the Good Friday Agreement.
It was his influence that persuaded President Bill Clinton to grant a visa to Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams in the run-up to the IRA ceasefire of 1994.