Jean Kennedy Smith Dies at 92; Sister of Famed Clan Helped Forge Peace in Northern Eire


She ruffled feathers, broke guidelines and brushed apart diplomatic niceties. She was reprimanded by Secretary of State Warren M. Christopher for eradicating two senior workers members who disagreed together with her views. She visited Northern Eire, a British province and never her turf, and met repeatedly with Gerry Adams, the top of the I.R.A.’s political wing, Sinn Fein, although American coverage then forbade it.

Whereas many officers in London and the U.S. State Division believed she was exceeding her authority and regarded Mr. Adams as a terrorist mouthpiece, Ms. Smith helped clear the way in which for a visa that permit him go to america to make his case for a cease-fire and British withdrawal from Ulster.

Virtually in a single day, he turned a preferred son of Eire in America. Six months later, on Aug. 31, 1994, a cease-fire was declared. On the behest of Ms. Smith, Senator Kennedy and others, Mr. Clinton met with Mr. Adams on the White Home in 1995, granting a measure of respectability to Sinn Fein.

When the cease-fire broke down in 1996 over the continued exclusion of Sinn Fein from the peace talks, Ms. Smith summoned Joe Cahill, the I.R.A. chief, and upbraided him. Sinn Fein was lastly admitted to the talks, and the cease-fire was restored in 1997. Negotiations led by former Senator George J. Mitchell produced the Belfast Settlement in April 1998.

It offered for disarming paramilitary teams and power-sharing in Northern Eire. A month later, it was permitted in referendums in Eire and Northern Eire. The years afterward have been marred by gunfights, political breakdowns, disarmament disputes and different flare-ups. However the Belfast pact continues to be considered the formal doc for phasing out a long time of sectarian warfare in Ulster.

Ms. Smith’s position — bringing the I.R.A. in from the chilly — was necessary, and she or he was happy with it.

“The Irish folks have been prepared to take me at face worth, to provide me the advantage of the doubt as a result of I used to be a Kennedy,” she mentioned in 1998 as she ready to finish her task in Dublin. “I used to be a cog, actually, within the machine that was transferring. I used to be lucky to be right here to maybe add momentum to what was taking place.”

Jean Ann Kennedy was born in Brookline, Mass., on Feb. 20, 1928, the eighth of 9 youngsters and the youngest daughter of Joseph P. and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy. Her childhood was idyllic, with summers on Cape Cod, winters in Palm Seaside, Fla., and mansion life in Bronxville, an prosperous suburb in Westchester County, N.Y.


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