Book Of Condolence Opens For Senator Kennedy

A book of condolence for Senator Edward Kennedy is to open today and tomorrow at the US embassy, in Dublin.

US Ambassador to Ireland, Daniel M Rooney, is leading the tributes and said that Senator Kennedy, who died yesterday, had played a crucial role in Northern Ireland’s peace process.

"Senator Kennedy was not only a great American statesmen, but also a great friend of mine and all the island of Ireland and its people," he said.

President Mary McAleese and Taoiseach Brian Cowen led the Irish tributes to the Irish-American senator.

Edward 'Ted' Kennedy died from a brain tumour aged 77.

The influential veteran US senator was the youngest brother of assassinated President John F Kennedy.

His death came just two weeks after his elder sister Eunice Kennedy Shriver passed away.

Mr Kennedy, who replaced his brother JFK in the Senate, gave almost 50 years of public service as a Democrat, making him the third longest incumbent senator in history.

He was a vocal supporter of civil rights and health care reform.

Today, as Barak Obama's landmark healthcare reform bill continues it's passage though the Senate, members have been invoking the work and support of Senature Kennedy on healthcare during his long tenure.

American healthcare reform was said to be the Senator's "unfinished life's work".

He had famously said his biggest political mistake was turning down a health care deal with Richard Nixon due to it not being comprehensive enough.

Senator Kennedy was involved in the passing of a number of crucial bills in the American legislature, including the 1986 Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act, Civil Rights Act of 1991 the State Children's Health Insurance Program in 1997.

However, Kennedy's major legislative goal was enactment of universal health care, which he continued to work toward during the Obama administration.


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